By Nick Nilsson
What you eat on a daily basis determines just about everything you can possibly imagine that goes with your body...your health, mental energy, body composition, athletic performance...you name it and what you eat has an impact on it.
These 7 simple rules are here to give you a little nudge in the right direction and make things a little easier for you in your own daily choices. At the bottom of the list, I've also included some good resources you can take advantage of to help you eat better.
Rule #1 - If your great-grandmother
wouldn't recognize it, don't eat very much of
Many of the highly-processed pseudo-foods weren't around 50 years ago. Food was more "real" back then and it's an ideal you should strive for now. This basically means choose foods that are less processed and closer to their natural state. Notice I didn't say "don't eat it"...which leads me to Rule #2...
Rule #2 - No food ultimatums
The moment you say "I will never have pizza again," you will immediately start thinking about how much you miss having pizza, even if you hardly eat pizza to begin with. It's like telling somebody not to think about elephants...you just did it, didn't you :). Same idea with food. That's why I never tell myself I can never have something...if I've got a specific goal and that food won't help me achieve it, I just say it's not on my list right now and I can have it later. No big deal.
Rule #3 - Don't keep junk in the house
And don't tell me you need to have junk food and sweets in the house "for the kids." If it's really for the kids, lock it up in a closet and give your kids the keys so you can't get at any of it then tell me if it's for the kids. Here's the other thing...your kids don't need that junk either!
Anyway, off on a tangent there - that's one excuse that gets me really whipped up. Bottom line is this...if you don't have it in the house, it takes a lot more effort to eat it. If it's in the house, it'll get eaten. If it's not, it won't. Simple.
Rule #4 - Multi-course meals
will wipe out your digestion
The more different foods you eat in one meal, the harder it will be for your body to digest it all. Different foods and nutrients require different enzymes to digest...by combining too many foods in one meal, you will overload your digestive system and make it less efficient. If you frequently have digestive issues when you eat, try something radical and eat just one food per meal and see what happens. This is especially true of fruit and dairy. Fruit is best eaten separately and by itself.
Rule #5 - You don't have to eat
6 meals a day
That "small, frequent meals" rule you may be familiar with is actually based on a study that showed a very small increase in metabolic rate when a person eats a meal. This evolved into the idea that eating a bunch of small meals helps increase fat loss and nutrient utilization.
Naturally, this was immediately seized upon my supplement manufacturers who promoted the idea that you can't possibly eat FOOD that many times a day, so you should take our meal replacement supplement for those extra 3 meals.
Here's the thing...no study has ever confirmed that it's more efficient to eat 6 small meals as opposed to 3 big meals (or even 2!) in terms of body composition results. ZERO. Think about this...if you're constantly supplying your body with food, why would it need to burn bodyfat for energy then?
Rule #6 - Try to eat organic
It's true...eating healthy can actually be pretty expensive. Unhealthy foods are generally cheaper because they can be manufactured in large quantities. Healthy foods are more expensive because they are more labor-intensive.
The payoff is that you won't die as soon when you eat healthy foods as opposed to unhealthy foods. I know that's putting it bluntly, but it's true. And you won't suffer from all the food-related diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and MANY others (honestly, the vast majority of diseases and conditions being treated by doctors today are entirely avoidable with a good diet).
So when it comes to eating organic, just do the best you can. Get it when you can and realize this...when a food is of higher quality, it's more digestible and you're going to get more nutrition out of it and you can eat smaller servings (at least that's what I keep telling myself when I eat grass-fed beef...DANG is that tasty...it's hard not to eat twice as much of it).
Rule #7 - Take supplements intelligently
I judge supplements primarily on their nutritional value, not for how many bolts of lightning appear in their magazine ads. The majority of the supplements I take are there to help support my nutritional state, not to muck with my physiology.
I take a multivitamin, protein, vitamin C, vitamin D3 (for immune system function - VERY important in the winter!), magnesium, krill oil, fish oil, BCAA's, K2, calcium, and a few other things, depending on my current goals. All that exotic garbage you see ads for in the magazines is mainly just that...exotic garbage. You don't need it.