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Article – What Is Good Nutrition? Part Three
Improved Nutrition for Improved Health In 5 Easy Steps
Nutrition has become way too complicated. Magazine articles talking about it contradict each other, sometimes even within the same magazine! Nutrition information has gotten so convoluted that the average consumer, you, ends up shifting from one plan to another in hopes of finding the “right” one. Well, I have wonderful news for you! Nutrition is not complicated. It is actually very simple and easy to understand and I’m going to show you how. All I ask from you is this. Adopt these steps one piece at a time. Probably the greatest failure of any best laid plan is trying to take on too much too soon. So, avoid trying to incorporate every single step that I’m going to share with you on day one and, instead, take on one for a span of two to three weeks independent of any others. Once you feel that you have integrated the first step you choose into your daily routine continue on with it while also adding a second one to your plan. Follow this process of adding a new step every two to three weeks until you have included all five. I promise you that by following this method of gradual inclusion you will reap the benefits wholly. Okay, let’s get to the good stuff!
Step one to improving your nutrition actually has less to do with food and more to do with feeling. Quite simply what I want you to do is learn to feel hunger. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve received a blank look when I’ve asked someone if they know when they’re hungry. Ask yourself. Do you know when you’re hungry? In our busy high tech world it’s very easy to find ourselves doing more than one thing at a time. When we do this we can often interrupt the dialogue between our brain and our gut thus impeding our ability to register early signs of hunger. Often when this pattern is in play we will only appreciate our hunger when the signal is so strong that our Neanderthal self takes over, club in hand, looking for food and lots of it. If you relate, don’t be too alarmed. We can all relate at some time or another.
To reacquaint yourself with hunger do this very simple first step. Use a hunger scale with 1 representing a level of hunger so strong that you feel like your starving, weak, and dizzy and 10 equal to being so full that you feel sick to your stomach.1 Before your eat your next meal use this hunger scale to determine the level of hunger you are feeling before you eat. Then, after you eat your food, use the scale again and rate your level again post-meal. By doing this activity before and after every time you eat, you will very quickly note patterns. To eat naturally, the way a baby does, eat when your hunger is at 3 or 4. Don’t wait until your hunger gets down to 1 or 2. Getting too hungry can lead to overeating. When you sit down to a scheduled meal, stop and think how hungry you are. If you feel less hungry than usual, make a conscious effort to eat less food than usual. Stop eating when you reach 5 or 6 on the scale.
Step two aligns very nicely with step one in that it is also more about improving your mindfulness and less about any food choices. Once you have a handle on eating when you’re hungry, step two will be a nice inclusion. It is simply to eat slowly. There are several reasons for doing this. For one, it takes a good 20 minutes for our brain to get the message from our gut that we’ve had enough food. If we eat our food in less time than this we can easily end up over full, especially if what we’re eating is particularly calorie dense. If you’ve ever loaded your plate at Thanksgiving only to scarf it all down minutes later, you can definitely relate. By taking time eating instead of rushing we will feel more satisfied. We will also be more in touch with our level of hunger from step number one leading to better management of our caloric intake naturally. Improved digestion is another benefit of eating slowly. When we eat food in less than 20 minutes the bites of food we swallow tend to be bigger thus causing more distress to our digestive system as it is asked to work even harder to break foods down that weren’t chewed enough in the mouth. This added effort can increase the amount of gastric juices our body produces and leave us with an upset stomach as well as acid reflux.
Step three for improved health is to eat foods that are protein dense. You’ve probably heard that protein is essential for building muscle but did you know that protein is also needed to produce important molecules in our body – like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies? Without an adequate protein intake, our bodies can’t function well at all. Protein also helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair. Protein can also help to liberate free fatty acids from fat (adipose) tissue, another way to get fuel for cells and make that body fat do something useful with itself instead of hanging lazily around your midsection!
A good rule of thumb for determining how much protein you need each day is controversial. Some have stated that excessive protein can lead to kidney problems. According to research by William F Martin, Lawrence E Armstrong, and Nancy R Rodriguez in the 2005 Journal, Nutrition and Metabolism, this is simply not the case. “While protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing kidney disease, we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet.”2
A simple guide to bear in mind as a starting point is 20 – 30 grams of protein every few hours for a woman and 40 – 60 grams of protein every few hours for a man. Understand that this is simply a starting point. You may find that you need a little more or a little less depending on how active you are, particularly if your activity levels include higher intensity exercise. For a helpful starting point for determining what this may look like in various vegetarian and meat based options check out the bodybuilding.com link I provided in the references below.3
A healthy nutrition plan is not complete without including step number four; eat vegetables and lots of them. Vegetables are a great source of naturally occurring fiber, water, and essential vitamins and minerals. Vegetables can also contribute to your total protein intake each day. Science has also demonstrated that vegetables have packed within them important plant chemicals called phytochemicals that are essential for optimal health and function. So, if you are really serious about maximizing the health of your diet aim for an optimum number of 5 – 7 servings of vegetables each day. A typical serving is ½ cup raw chopped veggies or 1 cup for raw leafy vegetables. Check out the site www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org4 for some great information on veggies.
A last step to include for improved nutrition is eating healthy fats daily. Healthy fats in the form of primarily polyunsaturated and monounsaturated options like those found in olive oil, nuts and seeds, and avocado provide us with a nice vegetarian start. Combine this with sea vegetables or fatty fish for a healthy boost of the powerful omega-3 fatty acid. A fish oil or algae oil supplement can also be included in lieu of eating real food. I personally encourage you to go for the real food if you can. It is also part of a health and balanced plan to include naturally occurring fats found in land-based animals as well. Eat your yolks. Enjoy your steak. If you have concern about your heart health just be sure to stay regular with your blood work.
Eating for improved health is actually very easy to do. The hard part is being consistent. I hope that by laying out these five tried and true steps to better health you will reap the benefits of sticking to each of them. Remember though, take your time to internalize one step at a time instead of trying to adopt all five tomorrow.
1 – Poinier, Anne C., MD. “Healthy Eating: Recognizing Your Hunger Signals.”WebMD. WebMD, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthy-eating-recognizing-your-hunger-signals>.
2 – Martin, William, Lawrence Armstrong, and Nancy Rodriguez. “Dietary Protein Intake and Renal Function.” Clinical Nutrition The Interface Between Metabolism, Diet, and Disease (2013): 121-40. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1262767/>.
3 – Kadey, Matthew, MS, RD. “The Ultimate List Of 40 High-Protein Foods!” Bodybuilding.com. N.p., 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2016. <http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ultimate-list-40-high-protein-foods.html>.
4 – N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/vegetable-nutrition-database>.
Please join me in celebrating the ongoing story of this month’s client spotlight, Paul Simon. Paul started coming to BodyBasics in August of 2014 after reaching what he describes as “a point of sufficient self-loathing” while vacationing at a beach with his wife. In years prior to this moment of discontent Paul had always been able to get going with the aid of a group or on his own. He’d lost as much as 30 pounds in this manner. For various reasons he had not been able to realize change on his own this time. When he got back to Tucson he did a web search and found several candidates that were close to home. Paul took the time to check out each place on his list to get a feel for atmosphere, training style and overall vibe. A walk into BodyBasics sealed the deal. In his words, “When I checked out Body Basics I got a feel for the place quickly. I felt it was a gym with a relaxed atmosphere with easy going trainers who know their stuff. And there were people like me just mostly regular types for clients (except for the amazing “Super” Mo Goldman).”
Paul committed to two 60 minute sessions per week for 3 months with two goals. He wanted to improve his overall fitness and lose 15 pounds in the process. He was connected with the ever so motivating Myrya and off the two of them went in pursuit of achieving his goals. What’s happened is best shared by him. “I have been training with the FABULOUS Myrya for 18 months. With her guidance, encouragement and patience I have achieved: (1) 25 pounds weight loss; (2) 5% body fat reduction; (3) dramatically improved diet & nutrition; (4) improved stamina & fitness. I have possibly told Myrya every joke that I have ever heard over that 18 months, possibly more than once.
Paul, congratulations to you man. It is a thrill to watch you in action, especially when we see first-hand what you’re doing now as compared to when you started. Those “guns” will be locked and loaded in no time!
Welcome New and Returning Clients
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
Connor Crebbs referred by his dad Ben.
Burke Krueger referred by Dr. Tait at Rejuve Medical
Darcy Tom found us driving by!
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for quite some time and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Jennifer Anderson – For working her butt off and staying dedicated to her goals. She gives 100% every session!
Paul Simon – For putting on some serious muscle and getting his nutrition on point!
Kim Griesmer – For her heartwarming hellos and tenacious spirit!
Don Pomeroy – For building up his side plank to an amazing :60 seconds demonstrating, yet again, age is simply a number!
Vivian Kaplan – For regaining mastery of her seated stability ball balance!
Recipe – Wild Rice and Edamame Salad
This amazingly yummy dish was shared with us from one of our BodyBasics clients, Holly Cluff and we are so thankful. This dish tastes great as a hot side dish or a cold salad. If serving cold, be sure to leave time for the salad to chill and the flavors to meld.
- 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 4 cups cooked wild rice ** be sure to cook rice before starting recipe ( I used brown rice)
- 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 cups shelled cooked edamame, thawed if frozen
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar, plus more as needed to taste
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the almonds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until golden brown (do not let them burn), about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with almonds.
- Add the rice, scallions, edamame, carrots, and cranberries to the bowl with almonds and seeds and toss to combine.
- Whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Drizzle over the rice mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season as needed with more salt, pepper and vinegar. Cover and chill at least one hour if serving cold.
Video – Lower Leg Stretch Progressions
Chris, Kris, Mike, Myrya, Michele, Kristian (our newest member, learn more about Kristian in April)