Nutrition and Diet
There's lots of ways to over think and over complicate nutrition. Here we've broken down the basics of what makes up your nutrition and what you should know. Your diet (how you eat in general) is made up of three main macronutrients; protein, fat and carbohydrates. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that you need in smaller amounts. There are so many diets out there; paleo, Mediterranean, Atkins, high fat, low fat, low carb, no carb, etc. I don't believe in 'diets' that are done short term to loose weight because if it's not a lifestyle change you're adopting long term anything you loose will come back. You need to find a healthy way of eating a balanced diet that is adaptable to your lifestyle and commit to it. As a general rule of thumb is that your plate should be half veggies, quarter protein and quarter carbs. Keep your carbs lower, healthier and earlier in the day and adjust your intake based on your activity.
I like how it was described in Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2. Vegetables, grains, legumes and soy products are low in disease causing substances and high and disease preventing substances. Avoid refined carbs/sugar, this processed food has removed the fiber and bran that fill you up and slow absorption of sugar and that accelerates the conversion of calories into fat.
A diet high in processed food deprives ourselves of the nutrients you need and leave you feeling hungry again quickly.
The more you change the better you get. Head in a healthy direction and you'll improve in every way. The better your diet, exercise, meditation, love and intimacy the more you improve overall. Diet is attached to emotions and depression, spending time with friends and family can help that.
The building blocks of nutrition!
You should have a protein source with each meal and protein should be about a quarter of your plate.
Proteins are essential elements for growth and repair and good functioning of all living cells. Proteins are made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. We should intake about .36 grams per pound of body weight if you're very active and exercising daily this should be bumped to .54g - .77g. Animal protein foods is the easiest way to get protein as they are a complete protein source providing all essential amino acids (meats, poultry, fish, the leaner the better). Up the servings if you are going for mixed vegetable-protein sources which are incomplete protein sources that provide fewer essential amino acids that should be combined in 2 or more sources (legumes, beans, tofu, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs).
Go for: extra lean meat, poultry, fish, vegetable-protein sources, eggs, dairy
Moderation: high fat cuts of meat, processed meat
They're not all bad!
You need good fats as a part of your diet for energy, growth and vitamin absorption, get it from unsaturated and saturated fats. Limit the trans fat from chemical, processed, fried foods.
"It's not fat that makes you fat, it's sugar" Dr Christiane Northrup from Hungry For Change.
Since the 1980's when everyone got on the 'low-fat' band wagon there has been an obesity epidemic in the US and pepole are wondering why their not loosing weight. Company's replaced real fats with trans fats, chemicals and sugar which are all worse.
Fat is an important part of your diet, but the amount and type of fat are key.
Choose unsaturated fats first, don't be afraid of saturated fats and most importantly limit trans fat. Fat provides energy, helps your body grow and helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E, K. Healthy fats are a good source of Omega 3 Switching out saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fat has helped lower cholesterol levels and provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Good unsaturated fats come from avocados, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils and fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, smelt, fish oils).
Saturated fats are something that used to be linked to health problems but new studies are showing that's not true. Saturated fats come from meat, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, butter, cheese, whole milk, lard, shortening. That's why choosing leaner cuts of meat and low fat dairy products are important for your diet.
Trans fats are very bad! It is actually made from a chemical process and raises bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels increasing your risk of heart disease. The biggest culprits used to be magarine, commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening, or oils containing partially hydrogenated oils and fats (cakes, cookies, crackers, croissants, doughnuts, fried and breaded foods, muffins, pastries and other snack foods). If a product has less than 0.2 grams of trans fat and less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat, manufacturers can claim the product is trans-fat-free. It's recommended that we not exceed 2g of trans fats a day.
Go for: Good unsaturated fats
Moderation: Saturated fat
Avoid: Trans fats. Some of the biggest culprits are margarine, deep fried foods, shortening, frosting, non-dairy creamer, microwave popcorn, store bought cookies and cake, biscuits, crackers, pie crust, bisquick, baking mixes, frozen or creamy beverages, meat sticks, frozen dinners.
Read the label and avoid things with trans fat aka hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.
The good and the bad
Half your plate should be veggies and only up to a quarter should be bread, pasta, etc. Although you don't want to over do it on heavy, starchy carbs don't be afraid of them either, complex carbs are great for energy especially if you workout.
Carbohydrates are used by the body to make glucose which gives you energy. Your body will use carbs before it burns fat so getting healthy carbs for energy but not over doing it on foods with added sugar will allow your body to burn fat instead of storing it. We tend to overindulge in bad foods that are high in carbs from added sugar because they are cheap, tasty and filling this is also leading to sky rocketing number of people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, grains, milk and foods containing added sugars. You want to choose healthier and complex carbs (vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans) that take longer to break down into glucose and that provide dietary fiber (oatmeal, bran, nuts, seeds, fruits, beans, peas, whole wheat, barley, brown rice, couscous, vegetables).
Whole grains are a good source of fiber and nutrients and are a better option than processed or refined grain which looses nutrients (although some products add it back in), like brown rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, wild rice, quinoa, millet, triticale, whole-grain barley, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye and whole wheat. However, your body doesn't need grains nutritionally.
Looking for ways to break the carb habit? Check out this article to help you get over the carb craving.
Go for: lots of colourful veggies
Moderation: high carbohydrate foods like grains and starchy vegetables
Avoid: added sugars like corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, sucrose, etc. found in sugary drinks, junk food, etc.
Fake sugars are very bad and should be cut out like aspartame, common in diet drinks, and is said to be linked to cancer.
Choose the whole fruit over fruit juice from concentrate with added sugar
Have half a plate of two or more types of veggies for dinner
Replace sugary salty snacks with healthier alternatives
Replace white pasta, rice and bread with brown/whole grain versions or even switch it out for veggies
Try to get organic as much as possible
Avoid low-fat, low-calorie options that are typically higher in sugar and saturated/trans fats
Choose reduced sodium, low-sodium or salt free options
Check out Hungry For Change which outlines that "the problem is that we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food like products".