Nutrition information is more accessible today than EVER before. Flashy advertisements for new diets promising magical outcomes are on billboards, in magazines, on television and all over the web. Everyone has their own solution to your health problems. In addition to the overwhelming amount of information, nutrition is an ever changing field based on the newest research… er, at least it SHOULD be. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the way many health care professionals teach and base their practices on, including dietitians, nutritionists and doctors alike. Instead of looking at the science, many continue to educate their patients based on conventional “wisdom” they learned from a textbook, x-number of years ago. As our obesity rate and epidemic of type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease continue skyrocketing to heights never reached before, it is evident that there is clearly something wrong with our nutrition information. This time, instead of grabbing the latest diet book on the shelf or ordering the latest TV nutrition program, we at Healthy Simple Life urge you to bring it back to the basics and make lifestyle changes — changes that heal your body from the inside out and ones you’ll be able to maintain for the rest of your life. The basics of healthy eating remain tried and true. Let’s bring it back to the basics:
1. The Three-Three Rule. Eat a combination of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates or PFC!) every three hours (four hours MAX!) to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Balanced blood sugars contribute to consistent energy levels, focus, stable moods and no cravings. They are essential for weight loss and maintenance because glucagon (your fat BURNING hormone) cannot get to work if insulin (your fat STORING hormone) is at work. Insulin helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, so if you’re not doing this by eating balanced meals and snacks, it makes sense as to why you’re going to have a lot of difficulty shedding those extra pounds (not to mention, increasing your risk for disease, like type 2 diabetes). Eat protein, fat and carbs every three hours!
2. Keep it Real and Simple. Consuming real, whole foods will never be a fading trend. Strive to eat like your ancestors by staying away from anything packaged, processed or from a drive-thru. A general rule of thumb for buying anything with a label is: the shorter the ingredient list, the better. For example, peanut butter’s ingredient list should read: Peanuts (and maybe oil and/or salt). Eat real protein in the form of fresh meats, organic eggs and Alaskan salmon. Have healthy fats like avocado, butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, full fat cheese, heavy whipping cream and peanut butter (with that short ingredient list!). Get your carbohydrates from fresh vegetables and fruits and less grains, breads and pastas.
3. Listen to your Body. With counting points, calories, grams and morsels, this is a concept we’ve gotten pretty far from. Learn to listen to your body’s hunger cues. When you’re eating a balance of PFC every 3-4 hours, you should never feel “starved.” If you’re extra hungry at one of your meals or snacks, make note of what you ate earlier, and next time eat a little bit more (especially protein and fat) at your prior meal or snack. If you’re too full to eat at meal or snack time, then you need to cut back on your portions at the previous one. Which leads to the fourth point…
4. Practice Portion Control. You should be ready to eat at your meals and snacks, but never so hungry you feel out of control. This way of eating will have you eating more frequently than you may be used to, but you should not be eating giant meals. It’s about keeping it balanced all day long: your portions, meals (balance = PFC,) and blood sugar levels, which in turn will stabilize your moods and provide consistent energy.
5. Be on the Defense. Any time you hear a product claim that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Any diet that completely eliminates an entire macronutrient (like fat, protein or carbs) is NOT a healthy one to be on. (But sugar, wheat and dairy are not macronutrients, so feel free to eliminate any of those!) Your body needs a combination of all three macronutrients to function efficiently and keep you feeling great. Always stick to what you know to be true: PFC (protein, fat and carbohydrate) at every meal and snack.
If you’re interested in more about our PFC balanced way of eating, check out this 4 post series starting with What is PFC? to learn more about our foundational nutrition concepts. And, of course, one of our favorite things in the whole world is helping people like you learn how to eat this way to accomplish your goals and making it fit into your lifestyle and schedule. We’re here to help you when you’re ready to makeover your life with individualized coaching. Contact our team if you’re interested in our coaching services.