Back to Basics Simple Nutrition Part 1
“You are what you eat” is a common enough phrase that’s used to encourage people to eat healthy food in order to become healthy and energetic. It’s not 100% accurate because you need to be able to digest and absorb the nutrients in order to gain those health benefits. But that’s a story for another article. Today we’ll focus on eating the good stuff.
Your body is made up of a variety of tissues that make up muscles, bones and various organs. And each of these tissues is made up of cells. So, in order for the entire system (you) to be healthy, the cells need to be healthy.
OK, so what has this boring science lecture got to do with you fitting into that little black dress at Christmas? It’s very simple, because if your body is healthy at a basic, cellular level, it’s going to be in a much better position to provide you with the energy to perform your daily tasks and also have some left over to do a meaningful training session. It will also allow you to burn more body fat.
It’s a little known fact that the more toxic you are (i.e. your cells are unhealthy), the less you will be able to burn body fat. Regardless of the amount of training you do.
Therefore the obvious solution is to fix things at a cellular level before you waste your time and frustrate yourself by training while still eating a crappy diet. Thankfully, your cells are un-demanding little creatures and all they want from life is a good supply of vitamins, minerals, oxygen and water. And all of these are available in abundance in a healthy, well-balanced diet.
The following 3 very basic nutrition tips will help you to support cellular function which in turn will improve your energy levels and increase your fat-burning potential.
Have some vegetables with every meal
We could fill a newspaper with the benefits of increasing your vegetable intake. They provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals to help support cell function while also helping you to feel full. The fibre content helps improve bowel function which removes those nasty toxins from the body. The recommendation of 5 servings of fruit and veg per day is often misinterpreted. Please be aware that fruit has quite high natural sugar content and if consumed in excess will lead to increased fat storage. Fruit smoothies and juices are a particularly bad idea because you’re getting all of the sugar with practically none of the fibre. For that reason consider having 5-7 servings of vegetables compared to 1 or 2 servings of fruit.
Have a lean source of healthy protein with every meal
Every now and again there are reports linking excess consumption of red meat with all types of disease and ill-health. As usual it’s a little more complicated than the sensational headlines would suggest. As with most things in life it all depends on the quality of the product. Highly processed, cheaper cuts of meat that are filled with preservatives and other chemicals will have an entirely different effect on your health than organic, grass-fed, lean beef. The same also applies to eggs, chicken, turkey and fish. The word Protein derives from a Greek word meaning “First” or “Of Prime Importance”. Our bodies need a regular supply of healthy protein in order to function at their best. Protein also has the added benefit of keeping us feeling full for a lot longer than your average sugar-filled snack.
Avoid processed food
In general you will be much healthier if you keep your consumption of packaged, processed food to a minimum. These foods tend to have a lot of sugar, salt and fat to make them taste better. It’s very unfortunate that processed, junk food is relatively cheap, while better quality, organic products tend to be more expensive. I am very aware that the quality of many people’s diet is dictated by their weekly budget. Where possible I would suggest that you spend more on quality, whole natural food and eat less of it.
These are very basic dietary recommendations but I find that the best way to improve somebody’s lifestyle is by making small, gradual changes. What we’re looking to do here is to make some lasting changes as opposed to a short-term quick fix. We’ll address dietary issues again over the next few weeks but these changes alone can help boost your energy levels and fat-burning potential.
Which is just as well because next week we’re going training!