We all need more nutrition and while we are not always sure how to do that, it is important to know that first and foremost, we all diet to be healthier - it is just a matter of defining healthy in your own terms so that you can get there and maintain it for the long haul.
As long as I can remember, people have been trying new fad diets that work for the short term, but ultimately fail because in the long term, they just aren’t sustainable. This is true no matter what direction you choose to go: more this, less that, cool names… it all ends up the same.
People aren’t able to sustain diets 100% of the time.
The interesting thing about nutrition is that when we look at how animals in the wild eat, they don’t even eat the same way all of the time! Nutrition is cyclical and shifts based on what is available throughout the year. With a few tips, you, too, can eat for your nutrition and see the massive impact it has on many different aspects of your overall well being.
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
If we break this down into the smaller parts, there is a lifestyle eating guide that can last for a lifetime. Sustainable. That is the best way to guarantee the very best nutrition for your body.
1. Eat food
Though this seems obvious, the truth is that there are so many chemicals added to processed foods that we are not always eating real food. Think about the dyes, preservatives, and flavor enhancers alone. Real food doesn’t need an ingredient label because it is obvious what it is! The goal here is to eat food that is… well, food. I would add that real food in all its varieties is more exciting than just adding salt, but that is just my opinion.
2. Not too much
This is where the world of diets has confused us so much. With programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutrisystem, we feel like determining what is the “right” amount needs to be complicated - so much so that we have to rely on some special system or prepackaged foods to meet this goal. However, that is not the case - prepackaged foods tend to miss the mark on step one.
So, how does one know how much to eat? Ideally, it takes presence and attention during eating so you feel when you are satisfied. Not full, satisfied. That means that the belly and tongue are satiated. This is when you no longer feel hungry and requires slowing down and feeling into your gut with each and every bite.
Buuuutttt, that maybe isn’t something that you feel ready for, so you can also fill your plate with real veggies about ⅔ of the plate, a thumb-sized (or two) amount of fats, a fist or two sized amount of carbs (fruit, grains, etc.), and a palm or two of protein. Depending on how big or small you are, this amount changes. But that giant bowl of spaghetti isn’t quite the portion anyone needs.
3. Mostly plants
Out in the wild with our fellow ape relations, the common practice is to eat only 20% of animal protein in their diet. Throughout the seasons, the plant they ingest changes, but one thing remains the same - there is not much meat being consumed. So, if you do eat meat, make sure that it is not taking up more than 20% of your diet and that you eat veggies and fruit with every meal.
You can try a fad diet and have success - that is seen time and time again. It is just what nutrient rich foods are you leaving out to gain a certain look? Because at the end of the day, dieting is temporary.
Nutrition can be for life with three simple choices: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
What is one shift you want to make in your eating habits today?