The holy grail myth….
If you are reading this article then you are probably looking for the holy grail of nutrition. The answer to all your energy, weight, and figure issues, and hoping that someone holds the answer.
I’m going to disappoint you : such an answer does not exist. Not out there in the world anyway. Depending on your genetics, daily activity, quantity of sleep, exercise, tastes, allergies, stress levels and so one there is only one specific answer : yours.
Some people are allergic to gluten, others are lactose or fructose intolerant, some have vitamin deficiencies, some are constantly poisoned by their environment (lead, mycotoxins, mercury etc), others want to lose weight, others gain some muscle mass… It all depends on who you are.
The almighty truths
What I CAN offer you are VERY generalistic guidelines to help you on your journey. There are very few things that are recurrent across all healthy diets (as in eating habits, not weight loss programs). I am going to list them here, try them out, see what works or doesn’t, what you like or dislike. And then you carry on researching.
Because this is what it is : a journey to understanding your body, what it thrives on for fuel and helps you feel and look great.
You are going to go through hundreds and thousands of pages of information, try out different diets, see what works for you and what doesn’t and finally reach something that works…. For now.
Yes because our diets need to change with time. You can’t eat the same thing when you are 5 than when you are 50. You are just not the same person. Whether it’s hormones or tastes, or how big you are, if you’re still growing, or how you move, or what strange reactions or habits your body may have developed along the way.
However! There are a few basics all professionals and doctors will agree on. And here they are :
A) The basics
1) Eat non processed foods :
This means :
–Vegetables, of all kinds, raw and cooked
– A little fruit
– Herbs and spices
– Good fats (Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, and a drizzle of tasty dressing oils such as sesame, walnut, hazelnut ans so on)
-A little red meat, poultry, organ meats, fish, seafood, and eggs
Organic is better, simply because we have no idea what the long term effects of what is put in our food does. That is my take on this. Studies have found no difference in illness and death due to non organic consumption but lets stay on the safe side… We don’t know who lobbies the studies. Just go and check out « effects of glyphosate on… » and have fun.
2) What NOT to eat :
Yes because what you don’t eat is as important as what you do eat.
So stay away from :
-Predatory fish (tuna, shark, swordfish…) : The sea is full of toxic waste and it has infected the livestock. Small fish accumulate a little. Then the fish that eat those fish accumulate more, and so on along the food chain. These heavy metals are stored in your fat, and is really hard to dislodge. And when you lose weight it spills out in your system making you tired, mooning, frothy mouth, bleeding gums… Be careful.
-Farmed fish : these fish are grown so close to each other they need high levels of antibiotics so they don’t get sick. You then eat them… Not a good plan.
-Gluten : Pasta, bread and anything wheat bases that has been processed are both fast carb and contain gluten. Now I know you may think this whole gluten thing may just be a fad, and be disproven later on, but I personally feel better not eating it. Do as you please, but start off doing without and see how you feel.
-Dairy : Same goes here. Dairy contains lactose and the methods to produce milk just makes me cringe. Either you seperate a mother from her veal in a stressful agonising process, or you inject a cow with hormones to make her spontaneously produce milk. Both just seem unethical to me. And I feel better not drinking it.
However…. Organic grass fed butter makes MY life better. I try to only use it for my Bulletproof Coffee in the morning which I love.
-Unfiltered tap water : Have you ever see what your pipes look like? Yes me neither. Filter it, you never know. Or just drink bottled mineral water.
-« Sugars » : Sucrose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrine etc … these are sweet, are used in all the stuff that makes you fat, sluggish and addicted. They induce cavities, high insulin response, increases sugar cravings, less sex drive, and on and on and on…. Go « no go » and see how actually addicted you are to this. If you are training hard, go for these high insulin response foods after it. Apart from that try not to eat any.
-Alcohol : this stuff dehydrates you, could actually be put in the sugar section, messes with you hormones, liver cells, cholesterol…. BUT! Going out for social drinks once a week is good for your life. Just don’t go crazy every weekend, and If you’re drinking to chill at night because your life is hard, just stick to one glass of red wine. Or maybe its time your life changed. Just saying…
-Cooked oils : if you want to fry anything in a pan, prefer coconut oil or grapseed oil that can sustain higher cooking temperatures. Just try not to burn anything. And do not do this every day. If you can steam or boil and add fats after, it is better for you.
Sidenote : I would advise you start training as soon as you decide to change your diet. When you train you want eat healthy, and when you eat healthy you want to get to the gym. These two are powerful allies that will get you to your health and fitness goals (I will write another seperate article on training). It sounds absurd, but each of them will make the other easier to achieve and accelerate the process.
3) Magic foods!
So if you’ve read up to here then you deserve to know what life changing foods can drastically make you feel better in a matter of hours. Here are the top 5 Foods I recommend you should implement on a regular basis :
-Coffee : antioxydant, fat burning, magnesium, vitamins B12, B5 and B3, energy, decreased cances of developing diabetes, protects from Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinsn’s, cirrhosis, some forms of cancer, stroke, and focus increase… what are you caiting for? just don’t mix it with milk or sugar. These just destroy its benefits.
-Lemons : vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, protects against diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, dental problems, fever, kidney stones, and is great for your skin and teeth.
-Garlic* : Antioxydants, boosts your immune system, protects from general sickness and the common cold, Alzheimers, Deùentia, reduce blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, detoxify from heavy metal intoxication, increases bone density.
-Ginger* : Gingerol (anti-infection properties), anti-inflammotary, antioxydants, decreases nausea, less muscle pain and soreness, lower blood sugar, indigestion, lowers cholesterol, immune system boost, energy increase
-Parsly : High Vitamin C, K, B12, and A, immue system boost, heart protective properties, anti-inflammatory, high iron, described as cancer protective.
-Coconut oil : Medium Chain Triglycerides (brain protective and healing benefits), fat burning, anti-bacterial, kills harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and dangerous yeasts, reduces hunger, improves blood cholesterol, good for hair and skin when applied, boost brain function for Alzheimer’s,
I would try to have each of these daily. In any shape or form, just to give you an extra edge. This is my top 5 list, but I also add cilantro, turmuric and oregano because they help me also.
B) How to eat
So there you go. You have all the basic information to have a better diet than most. The quantity you eat in this case should regulate itself automatically, because it is hard to overeat good nutritious foods (have you noticed that?).
However if you have even a slight eating disorder (which is most probably the case if you are researching how to eat, I did anyway), then here is what you should do :
Start off with no carbs. Eat one full plate of food and that’s it.
Yes, no carbs. Why? Because you can live without them. Your body needs glucose so badly it can make it in almost any situation, with mostly anything you give to it. So why give it something it can produce?
I was hooked to sugar and didn’t know it until I tried stopping. I battled this for over 2 years, and once I didn’t crave that sweet taste I found myself free of binge eating kitkat bars because I was sad.
Why just a plate of food? Because this teaches you that you don’t need starters, main course, dairy and dessert. That is a direct route to overeating. Once you’ll be in touch with what your body needs, (and this will happen over time), you can start eating more complex meals. But start off simple, or you’ll just go back to your old habits.
WORD OF WARNING : this is going to take a VERY long time. Studies show that habits change over 66 days. That’s the minimal amount of time a habit needs to kick in.
Not seeing change after a few days? after a week? This is normal. Your body doesn’t like change. Be patient. Wait at least three weeks, and don’t give up. It is a slow process.
You’ve embarked on a journey that will be at least a year and a half to see any lasting, satisfying change.
You’ll try, fail, beat yourself up, then try again, fail worse, and again, do better this time, change a few things around and be on a great few weeks, then a work / family / friend / love/ catastrophy will barge in and screw everything up.
This is normal. This is life. But just get back on that horse, and try again. Change something. And get better at this. As time goes on it will be easier, and faster, because you’ll understand yourself much much better. And you’ll be in control.
Once you get past the sugar hurdle, seen you’ve lost the extra fat, that your training is getting harder and making you really really hungry…you can get back to carbs and starches.
What your plate should looks like :
1/2 a plate of vegetables
1/4 of a plate of a protein source
BUT Breakfast?!?!? What can I eat at breakfast?!?!
How about 2-3 whole eggs, an orange and a banana. Done.
C) Intermittent fasting : the art of skipping breakfast.
So you might have heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day…. But why? Who said that?
« They » or « people » said it…. Never listen to « they » or « people », they are wrong 99% of the time.
Look up intermittent fasting on the web, and try having either Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee or Tim Ferrisses Tea in the morning instead.
The idea is to cleanse your system every day by fasting long enough to get health benefits without being hungry because you injested good fats for your body and your brain.
This is also great because it resets your hunger signals. So you learn how much to eat, what to eat and when to eat it by tuning in more deeply to you body signals.
Because this is the ultimate ressource you have and carry around with yourself : your ability to truly know who you are and what you need. What is good and bad for you. What helps you and what stops you.
So find out and don’t be scared to try.
And get healthy 🙂
PS : if you have ANY chronic, metabolic or allergic issues, please consult a professional doctor before trying any of the above.