Everything you think you know about healthy eating

Everything you think you know about healthy eating

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health. 

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat. 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein.  Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food. 

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. 

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.  Or better yet, find our more about my Wild&Fit Plans..

Watch our for these “healthy” fruit products

Watch our for these “healthy” fruit products

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Most of us consider fruit to be healthy – something that we can enjoy without restraint. And while fresh fruit does contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, the market place has been flooded with “fruit products” that are sabotaging your fat loss results.

Is any product with the word “fruit” in the name a valid way to meet your fruit quota? Nope. Here’s what I mean:

Problem Fruit #1: Juice

Fresh fruit juice can be wonderful. It has great flavor, great color, and good amounts of important vitamins and minerals. At least it does when it is actually fruit juice. Unfortunately, many drinks labeled as fruit juice, contain a very low amount of actual fruit juice. For these hardly-fruit fruit juices, sugar and water make up the bulk of the contents, robbing you of the important benefits of all-natural fruit juice and leaving you primed and ready to fill your fat cells.

Always keep fruit juice indulgences to a minimum, as even the fruit-only kind is loaded with simple sugars.

Problem Fruit #2: The Fruit Smoothie

Now, now, don’t get all up in arms. Smoothies have long been considered a healthy treat, but this often a misconception. It’s not that all fruit smoothies are unhealthy. In fact, a smoothie can give you a big boost of vitamins and minerals that help you feel energetic and ready to face the day. However, it’s very easy to add more sugar than is found in many desserts, losing all the healthy benefits and putting you at risk for fat storage.

To keep your smoothie lean and healthy, don’t add ice cream or frozen yogurt, processed sweeteners, or other items that are high in sugar and filled with empty calories. Keep your smoothie nothing but fruit, ice, juice, yogurt, and a nice scoop of protein powder to ensure it is high on the health chart.

Problem Fruit #3: Fruit-Filled Desserts

Lots of desserts are based around fruit. Cheesecake, pie, and upside down cake just to name a few. Though most of these desserts are unhealthy, there are a few healthy fruit-based desserts to enjoy. Fruit parfait and fruit sorbet are usually lower in sugar and calories than most desserts. And if you just have to have your cake and eat it with berries too, a light angel food will do just fine. Just make sure the slice of cake is thin.

Problem Fruit #4: Fruit-Flavored Cereals

Hopefully eating bowl after bowl of fruity cereals that leave your milk pink and orange is only a problem for your kids. But if you’re still hooked on cereals that claim to have some semblance of fruit, while being filled with added sugars and calories, it’s time for a change. Yes, these cereals may taste good, but sugar-laden breakfast cereals are ruining your fitness results—even if they supposedly have real fruit flavors. Wean yourself from the fruity cereals by chopping some real fruit into a bowl of healthy, sugar-free, whole grain cereal.

Stick with the Real Deal. The best way to avoid unhealthy fruit flavored products is to only eat raw, whole fruits and avoid packaged fruit in any shape or form. This will keep you on track with your fitness and fat loss goal.

Don’t forget that true fitness success comes from a combination of a consistent, challenging exercise routine coupled with a diet of wholesome, unprocessed foods.

How to eat less sugar

How to eat less sugar

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If you want to quickly pack on a few pounds then eat lots of refined sugar. Oh, wait, why would you want to do that? Let’s eat less sugar, instead, and watch the pounds effortlessly slide off…

We’ve been eating more and more sugar over the past 200 years, which has led to rising obesity numbers. Back in 1822 the average person ate only 6.3 lbs of sugar per year, compared to 130 lbs of sugar in 2012. That’s more than 20 times as much sugar in our modern diet! No wonder we are bigger than ever…

One of the reasons that your diet is filled with so much sugar is that some form of refined sugar is included in virtually every single processed food. This is yet another reason that it’s important to cut those processed and packaged convenience foods out of your diet.

Cutting sugar from your diet is easier said than done. Once it is a part of your daily diet, cravings strike, causing you to eat it even more frequently. But there is hope.

Here are 7 Ways To Eat Less of that Sugar that you’re eating that’s killing your results and keeping you from attaining your ideal body:

Eat More Protein
A diet rich in protein keeps you full, satisfied and less likely to crave sweets. A great way to make sure that you are getting enough is to plan each meal and snack around a protein. Plan breakfast around eggs, lunch and dinner around baked chicken breast, and make snacks hardboiled eggs or baked meatballs.

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
One of the biggest fitness myths out there is the idea that calorie-free, artificially sweetened beverages don’t impact your fat loss results. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is that the diet soda you’re sipping is making it harder for you to reach your goal weight. While the diet soda itself doesn’t contain calories, it has been proven to cause cravings for sugary foods. Put down the diet soda and instead pick up a refreshing bottle of spring water.

Steer Clear Of Saboteurs
The sad truth is that people in your life will try to sabotage your low sugar diet. You’ll run into that pushy person at the office who insists that you eat a donut, the well-meaning family member who dishes you up a bowl of ice cream, and the friend who comes over with a plate of her home-baked cookies. The best avoidance strategy is to sincerely thank the sugar-pusher for their gift, tell them you wish you could eat it, and then blame me – your fitness mentor – as the bad guy who says that you need to cut back on sugar.

Try Dark Chocolate
For those moments when your sweet tooth is relentlessly badgering you for something sweet, ditch the super-sugary candies and stick with a small square of very dark chocolate. Chocolate that is 70% or higher in cocoa content should be the only candy that you keep on hand. The benefit of the cocoa, in addition to the lowered sugar content, makes dark chocolate an occasionally justifiable treat.

Stick With Fruit
What’s sweet, colorful and comes in hundreds of flavors? Organic, seasonal, fresh fruit, of course! As you remove refined sugar from your life, feel free to add in some natural sugar by way of fresh, local fruit. It’s amazing how satisfyingly sweet fruit is – it’s truly nature’s candy.

Change Your Palate
As you begin to limit your intake of refined sugars, you’ll find that your tolerance for sugar decreases. This means that something that didn’t taste sweet before – say a green apple – now has uncanny depths of sweetness. What’s happening is that your sweet receptors are becoming more finely tuned, now that you’re not overwhelming your palate with sickly-sweet refined sugar.

Workout Like You Mean It
A regular, challenging exercise routine will not only get you into amazing shape, it also reduces your cravings for sugar. The endorphin rush brought on by vigorous exercise is an even more powerful feel-good-feeling than the pleasure gotten by indulging in sugary foods.

Make challenging, consistent exercise a part of your life by signing up for my fitness program. I’d love to get you to your goals using my results-driven method.