A lot of clients I see initially say that contrary to all the information out there, they don’t know what they really are supposed to be eating. They get confused and frustrated when they read all different diet advice and just fall back into old, familiar habits. I get that. Diet advice is all over the map and can be very conflicting.
After studying nutrition and working with clients, it is clear to me that different people want different things from their bodies. And, there are diets and plans for all of them. They are thousands of ways to drop pounds, to bulk up, to heal, to detox or optimise health for extreme sports.
But, what if you just want to eat right, which is what most of us want, right? What if you want to do all the things—lose weight, cleanse toxins, find a flat belly, boost energy, live a long and healthy life?
There is a way to optimize your health. To give your body exactly what it needs. There is a perfect way to eat. One that will give you a vibrant, healthy, youthful body. The more I study nutrition the more I realise how straight forward healthy eating actually is. So follow all or some of the basic concepts below and you will be on the road to changing your body and your health for the better.
So my Perfect Day of Eating focuses on What Not to Eat and What to Eat That’s it. There are things that should be going into your body. There are things that should not.
Foods worth considering cutting out of your diet
Sugar. We’ve become accustomed to it, obsessed with it. Though many diets flirt around with sugar as a “sneak” or “cheat”, sugar isn’t necessary. It adds zero nutritional value, and actually causes measurable harm to the body. Weakens your bones, causes obesity, creates drug-like cravings, and more. So first step is cutting sugar from your diet
2) Refined white flour
Avoiding white refined flour is good idea for everybody. White refined white flour promotes inflammation, causes sugar cravings and leads to ‘brain fog‘ and other mood disorders. If you deal with nightly bloating, low energy, or mood swings, omit white refined flour for a week and see if you don’t notice an incredible difference. Take this an extra step further and cut out gluten – for a perfect day of healthy eating gluten and white refined flour does not make the cut.
The consumption of dairy is another controversial topic in the world of nutrition with many nutrition experts disagreeing over whether dairy is an essential food group or not. In terms of the strict definition of ‘essential’ then dairy is not an essential food group. Many people are lactose intolerant and a lot of dairy foods are heavily processed – just think of yoghurts and cheese. Also consuming more dairy raises blood levels of the insulin growth factor IGF-1 which is linked to increased breast cancer risk.
4) Processed Foods
Some of ingredient lists on the back of packaging go on for ever. A tongue-twisting mix of refined carbs, artificial additives, and unpronounceable chemicals, it is clear how these are harmful to us.
Put a fresh apple on a shelf for a year and you’ll end up with a clump of compost. Put a granola bar on a shelf for a year and you’ll end up with a granola bar. Your body needs living foods to live. It needs plants that contain into the chemicals and nutrients that make a body thrive. Most processed foods are largely foil-wrapped hunks of sugar and refined carbs. Your body can’t use them, so your liver panics, frantically tries to balance your body and blood sugar, storing the excess away as fat. A perfect day of eating will give your liver a rest, and give your body what it needs to work right.
Nutrition coaches, doctors, and dieticians are seeing a huge rise in adrenal fatigue—the effect of overworked, tired adrenal glands. Stress, poor nutrition, and high caffeine intake can all lead to adrenal fatigue, and it’s been estimated that up to 80% of the population will deal with adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives. Cutting caffeine is the first step. It’s the easiest way to start giving your adrenals a rest. As you’re heading into your Perfect Day of Eating, swap out that coffee for a green smoothie instead. You’ll enjoy a natural energy boost, without the dramatic side-effects of coffee.
What to Eat
Now that you know what the perfect day of eating doesn’t include, let’s get to what to eat.
1) Wholefoods – foods in their natural state
Focus on whole foods. Additionally eat as many raw foods as you can. You’ll be supporting your system with powerful plant-based nutrition. Raw foods alkalinize the body, creating an optimized environment for health and wellness.
2) Leafy Greens
If there’s a single food everyone could be eating more of, it’s greens. Leafy, vibrantly coloured greens. They’re chock full of vital nutrients. They’re cleansing. Pound-for-pound, they’re also surprisingly high in protein. Fill your gut with greens instead of sweets, treats, and processed filler foods. You’ll notice a difference in your health and energy levels in just 7 days.
3) Plant-based Protein
Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to get protein from plants. Protein is an important part of a strong, healthy system. It’s also important to eat because it keeps you full. So many diets are bereft of proper protein. They count calories and give you tiny portions of high-sugar foods or juices that actually create a starving sensation. They tell you willpower is all you need to muscle from one meal to the next. This is a recipe for diet disaster. When you’re not giving your body satiating protein, it doesn’t matter how often you eat–you’re going to be hungry.
So, fill up on plant-based protein and feel full. The only way you’ll ever be able to stop that constant hunger is to quit eating the stuff that creates cravings, and start eating the stuff that stops them.
4) Healthy Fats
Healthy fat is actually a requirement for a healthy body. So, toss the low fat yogurt, and let your perfect day of eating be boosted with coconut oil and avocado. Those healthy fats will satiate hunger, help you drop pounds, and super boost skin, hair, nail health.
5) Grassfed Meats & Wild Caught Fish
If you’re a meat-eater, focus on the highest quality meats you can find. In the perfect diet organic would be the best choice. With both meat and fish, consciously farmed and fished meat makes a difference. Choose grassfed and wild caught whenever possible.
So that is a perfect day. If I asked a client to go away with this list and put it into practise I would overwhelm them. My philosophy is that perfection is not a realistic goal. I accept progress over perfection any day. So if you want to eat healthier and feel better start with baby steps. Perhaps have a look at the list above. Pick one area to focus on and give it 100% effort for the next 3 weeks.