It seems to be common sense: Simply eat higher quality unprocessed foods and eat no junk, processed foods. Yet it can be difficult to determine what foods we should choose.
I highly advise keeping things simple when it comes to healthy nutrition.
Some simple motto’s that may help you are:
- If it rots, its probably good for you
- If it comes from a plant eat it, if it is made in a plant stay away
- Lean, Green, and Marine
- Eat real food
- No “sugar free” or “fat free” foods
- Stay away from foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce
How to Find Fresh, Nutritious Food Year-Round
The best foods can be purchased at your local farmers markets. Make sure you pick farmers who do the best job possible to raise the veggies and animals organically.
When organic food companies expand to fulfill more organic orders they tend to lose their quality and authenticity, which is why I encourage everyone to buy from local farmers who produce high quality food for the locals. It’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating fresh!
Eating locally-grown foods means eating the fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area. The National Resources Defence Council (NDRC) offers a great tool on their website that helps you determine what fruits and vegetables are in season in your state.
In areas where growing season lasts year round, eating fresh is easy, and your options will naturally be more plentiful. But in more northern areas, adjusting what you eat to what’s in season becomes an inescapable fact if you’re going to eat locally-grown foods.
Here are three great options:
- If you’re lucky enough to have a local farmers market, that’s the way to go. For a listing of national farmer’s markets, see this link.
Another great web site is www.localharvest.org. There you can find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
- Another good route for finding local food is to subscribe to a community supported agriculture program (CSA). Some are seasonal while others are year round programs. Once you subscribe, many will drop affordable, high quality locally-grown produce right at your door step.
To find a CSA near you, go to the USDA’s website where you can search by city, state, or zip code.
Here are a some other great resources to obtain wholesome food that supports not only you but also the environment:
- Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
- Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) -- CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
- FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.
For an even more comprehensive list of CSA’s and a host of other sustainable agriculture programs, check out this link.
- Shop at your local natural food store or health co-op, as many of them get their produce from local farmers.
Smaller Meals More Often
I will keep this simple.
The more often you eat throughout the day, the faster you will rev your metabolism. The faster you rev your metabolism, the more calories you body burns throughout the day.
When you exercise you burn even more calories, and when you exercise effectively to build muscle, you burn even more calories.
Because muscle demands energy to just sit on your body. Fat does not.
For every pound of muscle that you have in the future, your body burns 50-70 calories more per day. That means, if you gain 10 lbs. of muscle, your body will burn an additional 500-700 calories per day.
To optimize your metabolism, you must eat 5-6 small meals each day. Eat every 3 to 3 ½ hours. Each meal should consist of protein and fibrous carbs together. This is the most important rule for fat loss nutrition.
- Good sources of protein include: eggs, chicken, lean grass-fed beef, tuna, fish, nuts, whey protein, lean pork, buffalo meat.
- Good sources of fibrous carbs are veggies, green beans, salads, spinach, apples.
On resistance training days or any day with intense activity include a couple meals with starchy carbs, but do not eat the starchy carbs with the first or last meal of the day.
Because your body breaks down starchy carbs into glucose (blood sugar). Your body stores excess glucose as glycogen in your muscles and liver. If you eat too many starchy carbs and your glycogen stores are full, then the glucose will be stored as body fat in your fat cells.
Glucose is the fuel your body and your muscles use for short burst of intense activity, like sprinting, lifting weights, jumping out of the way of an oncoming car, etc.
- Good sources of starchy carbs include yams, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, oatmeal, brown and wild rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain breads.
The faster your metabolism is, the more starchy carbs you can eat without suffering ill effects, and the more often you can eat them.
It is easy to start getting in tune with how fast your metabolism is revving. Simply ask yourself, "How high is my hunger level right before I eat a meal"? If you are eating every 3 hours and your hunger level is extremely high then your metabolism is revving high. And this is good for fat loss.
Everyone has a metabolism that was given to them by their parents, but you can speed it up or slow it down within a matter of days by making changes to your lifestyle.
I do not endorse counting calories. Doing so is cumbersome and overwhelming. And unnecessary. I have mastered my own fat loss nutrition plan over thelast 20 years of experimenting with fitness nutrition.
What I have learned is that it is much simpler than most people make it out to be.
I have drawn up over 550 precise nutrition plans for folks just like you. And most times the response is, "I can do this. This is easier than I thought."
There is a learning curve that usually takes about 1-2 weeks, however.
While I do not advocate counting calories each day, you do need to get a scale and start learning how many grams of carbs and protein you’re eating in each meal.
The main goal is to count grams of protein and carbs for each meal. And as you discover your own body’s natural hunger patterns and learn a few basic principles of eating for fitness, your will be able to manipulate the protein and carbs for each meal.
Most of the time all you have to do is read the back of the container to figure out how many grams of carbs and protein are in a serving. If the container of the food does not have the needed information, you can get the information online.
There are plenty of online learning tools so that you can figure how many grams of carbs or protein is in ________ (whatever food you are eating). Just google "how to figure out grams of protein and carbs in food".
Stay tuned for my next video and article where I will give you the needed information to determine how many grams of protein and carbs is best for you. Your metabolic needs for fitness and fat loss are different than mine or anyone else, but I have a simple system to figure yours out.
Pre- and Post Work-Out Meals
After resistance training your body needs some fast released carb and protein. This is the only meal that you want to be absorbed fast.
There is a one hour window of opportunity to shuttle in glucose and nutrients to repair the tear-down of the muscle and your energy systems during the workout. If you miss this window, your muscles will not have the nutrients to repair the "controlled damage" from the workout.
Your digestive tract is very vascular, so it needs a lot of blood to work effectively and efficiently at digestion, absorption, and excretion of nutrients and negative by products. After an intense work out the majority of your blood is in your muscles that you just worked.
Hence your stomach and digestive tract does not work very well right at that time. If you ate a whole food meal that typically is good for you, like some chicken and veggies, it would not get digested for 2-4 hours! Thus you would miss the one hour window of opportunity for muscle repair after an intense workout.
Because of this, the best choice for a "post workout meal" would be something that is already predigested, easy to break down, and high glycemic (absorbed rapidly), such as a serving of whey protein and a banana, for example. It’s a perfect combo for a post workout meal.
If your metabolism is running fast, then consume the post workout meal within 10-15 minutes after the completion of the workout. If your metabolism is medium wait about 30 minutes. And if your metabolism is very slow, you’ll want to wait about an hour before eating.
After cardio training, on the other hand, your body needs a slow released carb and protein.
You want to ride the fat burning wave created by the interval cardio session for one hour. For this reason you should wait one hour and eat a whole food meal that is absorbed slow.
A good choice would be some dark chicken meat, or turkey and some veggies. Make sure to wait 3 hours and then have the same meal again. Do not eat any starchy carbs in the meal before, or two meals after, the interval cardio session.
In summary, every last one of us has the ability to stand up and take control of our life. We are all in control of our metabolism, fitness, health, and ability to live long and strong. One of the top ways you can control your life is by controlling the food you eat.