Basic Nutrition Tips for Avoiding the Quarantine 15
Slowly, but surely, the world is starting to reopen. Like most of you, my stomach has been open this entire quarantine. My fiancé is a baker and let me tell you, she was making the sweetest of treats from brownies to cookies to cakes. I had to eat all of it, of course. I have very little will power and I am ashamed to admit that. But, we are slowly to start getting back on track, which is why I feel like this post will come at a good time for a lot of you. Maybe you are in the same boat as me, looking to clean up your diet after being sick of eating junk food that is oh so tasty. By the way, anytime Kylee, my fiancé, bakes, I will eat it. But that doesn't mean I can't follow a 90-10 rule (90% healthy, 10% sweet treats).
The question then becomes what is actually healthy and what isn't? Fad diets are everywhere, like quick fix workout programs. That's why the best thing I can recommend to you if you want to drop a few pounds is a lifestyle, not a diet. This is also why I think the 90-10 rule is completely justifiable, as long as you are staying active (60 minutes a day for adolescents and 30 minutes per day for adults). Below are some general guidelines I give to people adjusting to a healthier lifestyle and these are things I do myself. Maybe you can implement some of these in your life. Keep in mind, I am NOT a nutritionist. I am only giving you advice based on what I have seen work in my life and the lives of those (athletes and non-athletes) closest to me.
1. Eat as many foods as possible without an ingredients list. Spend the majority of your time in the produce section and the meat counter at the grocery store. Avoid anything processed as all of that junk that is artificial just makes you bloated, inflamed, and sad. It fills you up momentarily and leaves you craving something else later on. Sugar addiction is real. Eat your vegetables, your protein, and some fruit on occasion. If you stay out on the actual aisles at the grocery store, you'd be surprised at how much better you feel.
2. Try to limit carb intake and consume more healthy fats. I have been on a modified (90-10) version of a ketogenic diet for some time now, and this type of diet has been absolutely AMAZING for my mind and body. If you want more information about the keto diet and what it is, check out Perfect Keto's Ultimate Start Guide here. I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but this explains the lifestyle change in easy to understand terms. We don't need as many carbs as we think we do. Most of us could benefit tremendously from including more healthy fats in our life, especially our BRAINS!
3. DRINK WATER. We all know that we should stay hydrated, if you are curious about hydration as a whole and it's health benefits I wrote an article on that a while back. You can read that here. But, too often we increase our calorie intake a ton by drinking our calories instead of eating them. A general rule of thumb: Drink nothing with calories. This mainly includes soda where there are tons and tons of sugar and other additives. Choose just plain old water or sparkling water if you are looking for some bubbles and some taste.
4. Try to eat as Gluten Free as possible. David Perlmutter's books Grain Brain and Brain Wash completely changed my mind on how I approached gluten. The majority of people are sensitive to gluten in some form or fashion, despite not being diagnosed with full-blown Celiac's disease. Cutting out things like pasta, bread, and other forms of gluten has done wonders for my energy levels, bloating, and both mental and physical performance. I highly recommend both of these reads and implementing some lifestyle changes suggested in the book.
5. Have Sweets and Guilty Pleasures in Moderation. Because you're human. You deserve to have cheat days and sweets and pizza and whatever you want as long as it is in moderation. Again, we are going back to the 90-10 rule. 90% on track, 10% off track.
If you can apply only one of these rules, you will probably be a lot better off. Like anything, having a good nutritional lifestyle is a HABIT. If you're worried about maintaining a lifestyle like this, consider reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. In this book, he describes how to go from bad to good habits and everything discussed easily applies to nutrition. Make it easy, make it obvious, make it attractive, and make it satisfying. The easiest way to make good nutrition habits stick is to have someone on the journey with you. Have your kids, parents, spouse, a best friend or a colleague do it with you and hold each other accountable. You can do anything that you truly want to with practicing the right techniques to make it stick.
Happy (and Healthy) Eating!!!