Natural Nutrition: Eating the Way Nature Intended
For many people incorporating exercise into daily life is the easy part. Figuring out how to eat healthy for a lifetime, avoiding the temptations that surround us every day and making it all taste good is the challenge.
Our society has become a breeding ground for immediate gratification. We know what we want and we want it now. Fast food chains have made grabbing meals on the way to soccer practice or on the way home from a long day at the office convenient (there are fast food chains on almost every corner so you don’t have to go out of your way), cheap (almost all fast food options have some sort of low cost/value menu) and, easy (you can drive right up and never have to leave the comfort of your A/C or heated seats). Eating healthy and actually preparing food at home almost seems to be a thing of the past. However, incorporating a healthy eating plan into your lifestyle and that of your family is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only will you have more energy (from all those essential nutrients and no chemical additives) but you will have more brain power, better performance for workouts and you can do it economically with a little effort. And let me tell you, the little effort is worth it.
Eating healthy is simply eating the way nature intended us to eat. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. All of these can be easily obtained through real food, not packages, cans or a fast food drive thru. By incorporating a few basic principles, you can be on your way to eating healthy for a lifetime
- Eat small meals regularly throughout the day, every 2-3 hours.
- Avoid portion distortion and stick to proper serving sizes.
- Combine complex carbohydrates and lean protein at each meal.
- Drink plenty of water!
- Never skip meals and remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
- Your body has been deprived of nutrients and fuel for the hours you have been sleeping.
- Avoid processed and refined foods.
- Avoid/limit sugar and alcohol.
- Avoid saturated and trans fats.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The secret to eating healthy for a lifetime isn’t a secret, it isn’t found in a pill and it isn’t the latest fad diet. It is simply eating whole, healthy, natural foods.
As an athlete, these foods also provide outstanding fuel for performing your workouts. Make sure you know your daily caloric recommendations and stick to real food…not processed supplements. Although quick and easy, they are often more expensive than real food and contain a lot less nutrients. Our bodies are designed to process and use nutrients in their natural form, not those created in a lab.
Make sure you give your body fuel prior to working out, just make sure you test different options to see what your body can handle prior to exercise. Even more importantly, fuel your body post workout. The first 30-60 minutes after a workout is the best time to get optimal results from refueling muscles. This is when they are emptied out and need to replenish glycogen stores that will be used in the next workout.
Don’t underestimate the value of giving your body proper fuel. You wouldn’t think of leaving your house for a trip with your car’s gas tank on empty, now would you?