Sunday, January 15, 2012

A friend of mine emailed me last night with some nutrition questions. I believe that what you eat is the most important and I wrote back with these thoughts and I decided to blog it! I hope it helps :)

"Hi _____ ,

Thanks for your email! This is a loong email....

It sounds like you are on the right track! You sounds pretty knowledgeable on what is good nutrition, what is not, and how often to eat.

Eating frequent (but small) meals is recommended in order to speed up your metabolism and be energized through out the whole day. It is easy to forget to eat (being a student, work, etc.) but with more practice you will get there.

So, I first asked about goals because that will dictate how you should eat. It sounds like you just want to be fit and healthy. That is the first step! When you aim for these 2 you will gain the "physical strength, power, endurance, and agility that accentuates my mental aptitude and attitude" that you desire!

So let me start off by saying: Nutrition is everything. It is 80-85% of your results. Proper nutrition cannot be underestimated.

You have a good nutrition plan: breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, snack before bedtime, but based on the info you gave me, your diet needs to be more balanced.

By balanced, I mean that you need your adequate intake of macro-nutrients: complex and some [allowed] carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Do your best to include all 3 at every meal.

Carbs: Contrary to what people think, carbs are good for you. Carbs provide us with the energy our body needs to function and for our brain to think! 55-65% of our daily diet should come from carbs -- but they MUST be COMPLEX. Anything that was bleached to 'white' is not good for you. Always chose:
  • brown rice vs. white
  • WHOLE wheat bread vs. white
  • rolled oats/steel-cut oatmeal vs. instant (tons of sugar!)
  • wheat pasta vs. traditional
  • corn/wheat tortillas vs. flour
  • yams/sweet potatoes vs. white get the pic ;)
Next, you need at least 5 fruits and veggies a day-- but do your best to eat much more than that! They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, fiber, water, and photochemicals -- all of these provide so much for your body. F&V are essential! For your lunch salad, add lots of greens and veggies (spinach, broccoli sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.) -- take advantage of this opportunity and add lots of veggies!

Protein: You need it, but not as much as people think. Our diet should be about 10% protein or about 50 grams or so a day.
  • I get enough protein by eating a balanced diet, but since I work out vigorously, I make sure I consume a little bit more by eating legumes and rice protein powder.  I love legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils)! Legumes have tons of protein and fiber. Yes, they have carbs too, but they are complex and remember you need carbs to have energy anyway!
  • I do not eat meat, but if you do, make sure to eat lean meat only. For eggs, you can have 1 yolk every other day (bc of the cholesterol), but egg whites are a good option.
  • If you have dairy, make sure it's fat free or low-fat. Go easy on cheeses and low-fat/ fat-free cottage cheese and yogurt are good too. 
Healthy/Essential Fats: Your organs, joints and brain need them! I think about 30% of your daily diet needs to be fat. But don't be scared of eating it. As long as hey are healthy and not too much, you'll be fine.Make sure to include in your diet. Have an ounce of nuts as a snack or add 2 tsbp. pf flax to your cereal or post-workout shake.
  • My favorite nuts and seeds are almonds, walnuts (high in Omega-3); peanut/almond  butter; sunflower, chia, and flax seeds. 
  • Other good sources of healthy fats:Avocados,extra virgin, canola, sunflower olive oil, I haven't had this yet, but I've heard wonders: coconut oil
In addition, you need to drink about 8 glasses of water (64oz) - at least.

My DO and DO NOT list:

1. Eat a balanced and nutrition breakfast every day!
2. Eat fruits and veggies (at least 5 a day, but aim for 5-9)
3. Eat complex carbs
4. Eat healthy fats. (Nuts, seeds, natural nut butters, healthy oils.
5. Drink lots of water! Aim for 8 glasses a day.

1. fast-food -- that stuff is terrible for you in every single way! It is crap. I cannot stress it enough.
2. processed food. If it comes in a package, box, bag...avoid it! (high in sugar, sodium, saturated fat, hydrogenated oils!)
3. drink sweetened beverages. Soda (not even diet -- but if you're trying to switch, diet is better than the regular poison). If it's not 100% juice, don't drink it. Added sugar is bad and it just contributes to weight gain!

The fact that you don't have any food addictions makes it easier because you won't go on eating binges!

I am not an expert, ____, but I have my personal story and experiences that I have learned from. I will make suggestions to you based on what I have learned in my journey. What I have done has helped me incredible ways. I always wanted the lifestyle or body I now have, but I never imagined it would come true. PatiencePersistence, Dedication, and LOTS of Practice pays off.

It already sounds like you know a lot! Where do you get your info? I use for  training, but not for nutrition that much since my diet/lifestyle has dramatically changed from that of a traditional meat-eating bodybuilder :p

I think that once you get your nutrition straight, everything will follow. Eating right is not always easy, but once you get the hang of it,learn what works/doesn't work for you it becomes 2nd nature! :) You have to plan ahead and be prepared. It takes practice -- you can do it!"



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