A PRIMER FOR PROPER NUTRITION

Quick and simple guidelines for healthy eating

Healthy eating doesn't need to be the head scratching, confusing topic it has become. If you are feeling a little lost about what to eat this post should help steer you in the right direction.

 

Since the change to our diets from the agricultural and industrial revolutions chronic, degenerative diseases such as  diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers and musculo-skeletal issues have been on the rise.

 

Traditional or natural diets, on the other hand, are shown to be very healthful. In fact they have been shown to be over 10 times higher in vitamins A, D, E and K, and 4 times higher in calcium and other minerals than modern western diets!

 

Here are some brief nutrition guidelines to help you eat healthier. 

proteins

Meat, fish and eggs do much more than build and repair the tissues of our body. Some proteins function as hormones, enzymes, antibodies and hemoglobin, and therefore play very important roles within the body 

 

Although proteins are mostly found in animal foods and their by products, numerous plant sources of proteins can also be found.

 

Protein has proven to be extremely beneficial for individuals working to change their body shape (burn fat/build muscle) for a number of reasons: protein rich foods are highly satiating, burn more calories than carbs or fats do being digested and aid in maintaining/building muscle tissue which supports a healthy metabolism.

 

QUICK HEALTHY PROTEIN GUIDELINES  

  • Eat meats such as beef, lamb, chicken and pork (ideally from organic, pasture raised animals if possible).
  • Poultry and eggs (from organic, free range or pasture raised hens if your budget and local allows).
  • Wild caught fish and seafood (ideally smaller fish lower on the food chain to avoid the intake of heavy metals).
  • Full fat dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt - if you are lactose tolerant (raw or cultured diary are the healthiest sources) 
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds (consider soaking and drying before eating to reduce nutrient blockers).
  • Legumes such as lentils, chick peas, pinto beans, black beans, etc. provide vegetarian options but are far lower in protein content. In an ideal world these foods would also be soaked before eating for the same reason as nuts, especially when being eaten in large quantities.

Avoid soy, products except fermented forms such as natty, tempeh and miso. Soybeans are one of the most genetically modified plants on the planet.

 

If you are chasing a weight loss goal i recommend you eat about 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight (thats round 1 gram per Ib).

FATS

Most people find fats to be a confusing topic. During the 60's and 70's saturated fats were strictly viewed as an unhealthy food source and played no part in "healthy diets".

 

Thank goodness fats are now starting to make a comeback! Fats are truly essential to good health.

 

Fats aid the uptake of important vitamins like A, D, E and K. They serve as building blocks for cell membranes and hormones, provide a rich, slow burning source of energy, and help regulate energy absorption. And lets not forget just how great they taste! Its hard to beat a dollop of grass fed butter on top of some veggies!

 

HEALTHY FAT GUIDELINES AT A GLANCE

  • Eat oily fish such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon and white fish.
  • Include good quality eggs.
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Unrefined, organic coconut & red palm oil.
  • Butter and dairy.
  • Raw, cold pressed oils from nuts such as almond oil, hazelnut oil, macadamia oil etc. 

Avoid modern, man made fats which interfere with healthy fatty acid function and are toxic to your body such as;

  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Partially hydrogenated fats
  • Trans fats
  • Highly processed vegetable oils such as corn oil, cotton seed oil, safflower oil etc.
  • Fried oils/fats

The most important point to make about fats, aside from removing the man made toxic fats, is to eat a variety of different fat sources. Most people have an inbalanced intake of fats. Eating a little of all of the above is a good place to start. 

 

Because of the essential roles fats play in supporting good health you should ensure that at least 20% of your calories come from healthy fats. 

CARBS

The large volume of negative publicity that carbs have received in recent years has led many people to shun them from their diet. This is unfortunate because carbohydrates can be an important part of a healthy diet.

 

Carbohydrates provide quick acting energy for muscles, they provide a source of fuel for the brain and help to regulate protein and fat metabolism. Many carbohydrates, such as vegetables, provide an abundant source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

 

Carbohydrates do not need to be eliminated from your diet but you must select the right types to be trim and healthy. 

  

QUICK HEALTHY CARB GUIDELINES

  • The majority of dietary carbohydrates should come in the form of raw and lightly cooked vegetables.
  • Starchy carbs, like potatoes, rice and whole grains should be eaten according to your level of physical activity.
  • Fruit should be consumed in its whole form (limit the consumption of fruit juice) to gain the benefit of fiber. 
  • Whole grains should be properly prepared by soaking, sprouting and fermenting when required.
  • Select the healthiest sources of carbohydrates that your budget and locality allows; think organic, locally grown and seasonal. 

Avoid processed and refined carbohydrates such as white flour products, breakfast cereals, low fat snack foods and sugary foods.

 

Many people argue that, whilst there is such a thing as essential proteins and fats (essential meaning your body cannot survive without and cannot manufacture them internally) there is no such thing as essential carbohydrates and therefore we should be eating zero carb or extremely low carb diets. Whilst we may be able to survive without eating carbohydrates we cannot thrive. The gut filling and appetite suppressing fibre found in vegetables and fruits can greatly aid in weight loss, and their high nutrient value support overall good health.

 

 

Low carb diets can create weight loss by restricting or removing carbs, which in turn reduces the number of calories eaten per day because carbs contain calories. Many studies have proven low carb diets to be an effective tool for weight loss, and I personally lean towards a lower carb eating approach for weight loss with many clients. Having said that I want to make it clear that it is totally possible to lose weight and be healthy whilst eating a higher percentage of carbohydrates so if you enjoy eating carbs there is no reason to massively restrict them in your diet.

 

For weight loss and good overall health I recommend filing half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, bel-peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, etc. 

HYDRATION

We can survive for weeks without food but only days without water. Water is essential to life.

 

Some of the important roles of water include regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients around the body, flushing toxins, preventing tissues from sticking and lubricating joints.

 

Unfortunately tap water is loaded with nasty contaminants such as lead, mercury, radon, nitrates, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Substances that are very harmful to health and need to be avoided.

 

Bottled water isn't much better. Plastic bottles contain chemicals that may leach into the drinking water such as Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is linked to infertility, prostate and breast cancer and altered immune system function. Purchasing glass bottled water can remove these concerns but is expensive and can be more difficult to source and carry around.

 

Tap water can be safely filtered at home using a filtration system, although there is strong ongoing debate over which is the best water filtration system to use. The bottom line is different filtering systems offer varying pros and cons, therefore the type of contaminants you are trying to avoid should determine your choice. Whilst reverse osmosis and carbon block filters usually come out on top, it should be said that any filtration system is better than none! Just be sure to change out the filters in a timely manner to avoid the accumulation of bacteria. 

 

WATER CONSUMPTION GUIDELINE

 

Taking your body weight in pounds (2.2 pounds = 1 kg) and dividing by 2 represents the minimum number of ounces of water to drink per day. Alternatively take your body weight in kg and multiply by 0.033 to get the number o filters to drink each day. 

 

This is a general guideline and more water should be added if you are physically active, residing in a hot climate or drinking mild diuretic beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary drinks. 

There is no such thing as a one size fits all diet. Due to your lifestyle and personal food preferences a proper nutrition plan looks slightly different for all of us.

 

That said, the simple and brief nutrition guidelines above serve as an excellent starting point to create a healthful diet that suits your needs.

 

I hope you enjoyed these healthy tips! 

 

If you want some losing weight and building health contact me at andrew@realfoodandfitness.com for a free 20 minute phone or Skype call to discuss your options or get started! 

 

Enjoy your day!

 

 

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