Right now, the world of nutrition science is converging on a few new and novel ideas. Some of the most popular trends at the moment are paleo, primal, ketogenic, carb-cycling and intermittent fasting, just to name a few.
After years of study and practice I’ve determined there are no hard and fast rules to any of this. (They’re more like suggestions actually). A healthy diet is more of a result of what you don’t eat rather than what you do eat. The common factor in all of the popular diets I just mentioned is this:
There you have it! I know this is a revelation for many people but food isn’t the problem, it’s the solution.
The real problem isn’t excess calories. It’s not even excess sugar or fat or any other nutrient. The real problem is excess manufactured foods. When real food is taken out of its natural state, whether ground up powder-fine as with flour or having tons of sodium or other preservatives added as with canned foods, it’s the same effect.
At one time, I would have devoured a whole pizza without giving it a second thought.
When I first began my journey from being obese to attaining a healthy body weight. My initial changes were things like substituting a protein shake for my nightly bowl of ice cream or other sweet indulgence. This was a step in the right direction. I started measuring the sugar I put into my coffee instead of just mindlessly pouring it in. Later, I replaced the sugar with honey since it’s a natural product and is absorbed more efficiently. Now I don’t sweeten my coffee at all. I put MCT oil and butter in it and drink it black just before my morning workout to jump start my fat burning for the day.
I have eliminated whole categories of foods, for example abandoning soft drinks completely. (I haven’t had a soda in over five years and I don’t miss it at all.) I cut back on all types of fast food and completely eliminated anything from McDonald’s menu in particular. Here’s why:
Recently, I’ve also ditched all flour and grains from my diet completely. These types of changes are not for everyone. No, I don’t suffer from IBS, Celiac or any other inflammatory condition. I just believe that the health risks of consuming grains outweigh the benefits.
So what’s left after making these changes?
The foundation of my diet (and any truly healthy diet in my opinion) is vegetables. Tons and tons of vegetables. Along with a few fruits, these provide loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they fill you up without all the extra calories or negative effects of processed foods.
I eat meat as a source of protein along with eggs and some dairy, mostly because of the demands from weight training and other forms of exercise. I don’t count grams or macronutrient ratios anymore because I think doing this probably leads to unnecessary over consumption of these foods but I get an adequate amount to rebuild and repair muscle tissue and maximize nutrient intake.
Finally fats! (I saved the best for last.)😁When people first hear about approaches like ketogenic or high fat diets, their first thought is something like “Yeah! All the cheese and bacon I want!” Well….not exactly.
The best sources of fat are from plants. These are things like olives, olive oil, tree nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts and macadamias, coconuts and of course my beloved avocados! I don’t think a little butter or cheese will kill you but I don’t eat a stick a day either.
Some healthy fats can be found in animal sources too. For example, omega 3 fatty acids from fish are great for heart health, brain health, circulation and as an anti-inflammatory for reliving aches and pains in the joints. Also, the fat from grass-fed and free-range animals contains less omega 6 fats and higher amounts of omega 3’s than those fed a grain based diet.
Which leads me to my next point. Not all plant-based fats are healthy either. Commercially produced industrial seed oil such as soy, corn, and canola are rich in omega 6’s and are highly inflammatory in the human body. This brings us back to where we began. “Fake foods are the real problem.” and you can quote me on that!
You may also enjoy reading:
This is the original research paper that sparked the current interest in ancestral health practices and popularized what has become known as the “Paleo” movement by proposing that coronary heart disease and other metabolic conditions are due to excessive consumption of Industrial Era foods (such as cereals, refined grains, added sugars, refined vegetable oils, fatty meats, salt, and combinations of these foods) rather than being based solely on excess saturated fat consumption as was previously believed.