What if everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong and it’s making you fat and tired??
Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere, isn’t it?
It’s coming at us from celebrity chefs, personal trainers, online gurus who’ve healed themselves so they think now they can heal everyone else. Even brands are publishing health advice from their ‘in house nutrition experts’.
Government bodies are mostly still touting outdated guidelines and bad advice.
And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.
More than ever, you really want to be picky about where you get your nutrition advice from!
One of my clients called me her ‘nutrition curator’ the other day. When I asked her what she meant, she said:
“I know that you’re super qualified and experienced on all things nutrition and natural health. You’ve done the study and have lots of experience helping other women like me. You filter out the rubbish so that I only get the parts that are relevant to me. I don’t feel confused anymore and know that what you tell me to do is what will work.”
Yay! Job done!
Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on HOW MUCH you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
Let’s take a look not at HOW MUCH you eat…. but at WHAT
Calories are not all there is to it. If a biscuit and an apple have the same calories, does that mean they are equally as healthy?
This is the main reason I detest all those weight loss programs based on points systems. It’s teaching you nothing about healthy eating or metabolism.
Besides, the “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. HOW MUCH you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that are far more important. Don’t get me wrong, we do need to ensure we don’t eat excessive amounts of calories – it’s just that its simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
You also need to pay attention to WHAT you eat…
Ideally, you need a varied diet full of whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible. This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.
Every day this is what you aim for:
- A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and powerful phytonutrients in veggies for every cell in your body. Sometimes I have clients who tell me they “don’t like vegetables” and I get very tough love with them and say “learn to love them or suffer the consequences later in life”. Simple as that.
- Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids and eating some form of protein at every meal and snack (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
- Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your food. Oh, and for like EVERY CELL MEMBRANE IN YOUR BODY! Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, avocado, eat your organic egg yolks cooked but still runny, enjoy oily fish, flaxseed oils, walnuts and get grass-fed meats when possible. And if you do eat something packaged, check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t say ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘canola oil’ – unless otherwise stated, these will be refined and hydrogenated which makes them toxic to your body. They last longer on the shelves which improves company profit, but it doesn’t prolong your life!
And have you ever considered HOW you eat and drink?
Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.
Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you inhale your food?
(My dog does. But he has much stronger stomach acid than me and way less stress in his life.)
When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating” – I have a whole blog on this HERE
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?
We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And don’t forget about drinking your food.
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.
Don’t get me wrong, a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.
And don’t gulp it down too fast! Sip, sip, sip it.
If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fibre like ground flax or chia seeds.
So in summary…
Consider not only HOW MUCH you eat but also WHAT and HOW you eat it!
Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).
Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.
Blend, Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.
Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fibre and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein. If only they didn’t get stuck in your teeth for days…