If you start with these 5 simple rules today, I can guarantee you’ll be healthier tomorrow.
Now I know, I’m not supposed to make guarantees about your health. But here’s the thing: when you start fueling your body better, you’ll feel better and it will improve your health to some degree (though I can’t predict how much.)
A quick analogy: if you put cheap gas in a Maserati, it’s not going to perform as well as if you put the high octane premium stuff in, right?
Your body is the same way.
The trick with your body is understanding what’s high octane and what’s garbage. Sometimes we can be misled.
But what IS high octane for the human body?
It’s not the rich stuff that makes up much of people’s diets today. It’s not the concentrated fat & protein in cheese. That’s high octane for a baby cow!
It’s not large amounts of animal food. You’re not REALLY a carnivore. Just look at your teeth compared to your dog’s or cat’s; the difference is obvious. That stuff is high octane for Rover but not you!
High octane for the human body is whole plant food. It’s the stuff our cells need to make all the healthy things to fuel our bodies. It’s the stuff our gut microbiome needs as well. Does that make sense?
I could pretty much end this blog with that and it would be complete, except that I wouldn’t have given you the 5 rules!
So here they are:
1. Always keep fresh and frozen fruit in the house.
You can use this in a variety of ways.
I like to use fresh fruit in my oatmeal in the mornings. In the summertime, I eat berries of all types; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and more. In the wintertime, it might be apples or pears.
I eat fresh fruit with a cup of tea for dessert after dinner. It satisfies that urge for something sweet and keeps me away from chocolate, my nemesis.
I also eat fresh fruit for my afternoon pick-me-up instead of junk food or candy.
2. Increase your fiber intake.
What IS fiber anyway? Fiber is that part of plants that we don’t really digest well. And that is the beauty of fiber. It fills up our tummy and keeps it working so we are satiated with fewer calories. All plant foods contain fiber.
Fiber also feeds the good-guy bugs that make up your gut microbiota. Now I know you’re hearing more about the importance of your gut bugs lately because we’re learning more about them daily.
Basically plant foods help feed the healthy ones and animal foods and processed foods help feed the bad-guys. So you choose!
To get more fiber, just eat more plants! Plants at breakfast (cereal). Plants at lunch, plants at dinner (vegetables, beans, grains).
3. Put things together that you normally use together in advance to save time.
Here’s an example: I use ground flax seeds & chia seeds together for a couple of different things so I grind about ½ cup of each and put them together in a mason jar. Every couple of weeks, I need to grind more.
What do I use flax & chia for?
(i) I add them to my oatmeal for protein and omega-3s.
(ii) They can be used as an egg substitute in cooking and baking. Mix 1Tbsp. With 3 Tbsp, of water and let sit for about 5 minutes. Use as 1 egg.
(iii) I add them to smoothies to thicken and add nutritional value.
If you find yourself using the same things together all the time, mix them in a container & make it easier.
4. Use spices or fruit instead of sweeteners.
Some examples: I have a mix (see #3) of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom that I use in my oatmeal. I also use it in baked sweet potatoes and other places where I might want a little hint of sweet flavor.
You can use mashed up banana, applesauce or crushed pineapple in place of both sweetener and oil in baked goods. (I’ll publish some recipes soon.)
5. Don’t be afraid of whole-grain carbs.
Perfect example: I was talking to a potential new client yesterday. She mentioned that she didn’t eat avocado toast for lunch because of a concern about the calories in the toast. Two pieces of toast are about 180 Calories. Add the 1/4 avocado; probably 280 Calories total. Meanwhile, she had resisted getting herself a fast-food burger when she picked one up for her husband at his request. (Refusing to do that might also be a conversation!)That would have been closer to 600 calories.
Of course, better than that would have been a bowl of intact whole grain like quinoa, millet, or brown rice. It could have been made in advance and simply warmed up. Add some beans (whole canned beans are fine) and a ½ cup of frozen spinach. Throw it in the microwave and top it with some salsa and you have a hearty lunch for just a couple hundred calories with virtually no fat.
The point of any of this is NOT Calorie counting. It’s Calorie and nutritional AWARENESS.
Here’s what calorie awareness looks like:
A cup of most vegetables contains less than 50 Calories
A cup of most fruit is about 100 Calories
A cup of starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, etc.) about 100.
A cup of most whole intact whole grains (cooked) 200-300
A cup of ground beef is about 5.3 ounces and has 617 Calories with 40 gm fat
Conclusion: When you fuel your body with mostly plants and you don’t add liquid oils (at 270 Calories per OUNCE!), losing weight is much easier.
With weight loss comes decreased inflammation. That leads to easier movement which helps fitness, energy and a host of other things.
Like I said. . .improved health.