Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, all it takes is a couple of very simple steps, and then sticking to them 90% of the time.
Over the last few weeks I have seen a large number of ‘Instagram exercise professionals’ (read: people who have a lot of followers and take a lot of selfies…) posting about some amazing new supplement. Coming with the statement that they will ‘detox your body’ and ‘stoke your metabolic fire’, they are almost always posted with a half naked picture and a great big ‘please buy this from me‘ smile.
You know what I am talking about.
Those ridiculous detox juice cleanses, fit teas, and fat burners.
Like seriously, what the hell makes a tea ‘fit’ anyway.
Anyhow, I am getting off track a little here. Seeing these posts has got me thinking about all that is wrong with the health industry. I mean, these so called ‘fitness gurus’ are literally preying on the self-conscious. They are using the fact that they look good naked to sell some trashy supplement that does absolutely nothing, just to make a quick buck.
It is more than a little unethical.
The fact of the matter is that, even despite these things being sold across the world, they do not do a single thing.
And as much as we would like to think that there is a quick fix to health and fitness, there simply isn’t. It all comes down to exercising often, and eating well 90% of the time.
Difficult? Often a little bit, yes.
But complex? No.
Or at least, it doesn’t have to be.
With this in mind, I wanted to outline what I believe to be the big rocks of diet. The simple strategies that I use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, to make sure my diet is pretty reasonable without a whole lot of effort.
Which is what I believe is most important when eating for health.
The Big Rocks of Diet: Eating For Health
Before I get into these tips , I wanted to add a bit of a disclaimer: I am not a dietitian. This is simple dietary advice that I have found works for me. It will not cure cancer. It will not stoke your metabolic fire, and it will not help you lose 10kgs in 3 weeks.
But it might get you healthier, which is pretty damn important (maybe even more important?).
1. Eat a Serve of Veggies With Every Meal
Well, it turns out grandma was right. Eat your veggies and grow up big and strong.
In all seriousness, vegetables are the bees knees. They are full to the brim with essential vitamins and minerals that help your body function effectively and keep you disease free. In short, they improve your health and keep your immune system strong.
As an added bonus, despite their extremely high vitamin and mineral content, vegetables contain very little energy. This means that you can eat a whole heap of them without running any real risk of weight gain, which (if you are a pig like me) is quite nice.
Who would of thought that eating for health starts with veggies…
2. Eat a Serve of Protein Every Meal
Another simple tip that can have a huge impact.
Over the last few decades, the western diet has evolved into something that is extremely carbohydrate dense (think breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals).
With the increased consumption of these foods, we have less room for protein dense foods. Which is a shame, because protein essentially acts as the building blocks for our entire body. We use them to repair damaged tissue, recover from exercise, build enzymes, and to even produce new bone and connective tissue.
Protein is important.
Additionally, protein is also very satiating. This means that it makes you feel fuller, for longer.
As a result, if you eat a serve of protein at regular intervals throughout the day, you are going to be less likely to snack on junk food.
3. Try and Avoid ‘Over Consuming’ Processed Carbohydrates
I have already touched on the fact that we tend to eat a diet that is fairly dense in breads, pastas, rice, and breakfast cereals
While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these foods, I should also note that they don’t really offer us a whole lot of nutritional value. To put it simply, they contain very few vitamins and minerals, and a whole lot of energy.
This means that they provide you with very little bang-for-your-buck.
To add to this, opposite to protein, carbohydrates are not particularly filling. With this in mind, they provide you with a heap of energy, but don’t make you feel any fuller – which is a recipe for overeating.
4. Drink More Water
Did you know that body is approximately 70% water?
Well, I read it on the bottom of a bottle cap, so it must be true.
In all seriousness, your body functions better when it is hydrated. You feel better, you have more energy, and you will be less susceptible to disease and illness.
Water is good for you.
However, most of us don’t drink anywhere near enough. We go through our daily lives in a perpetual state of dehydration, in some cases even mistaking our thirst signals for hunger signals and overeating as a result.
Fortunately, there is a very simply remedy for this – drink more water.
Start your day with a 500ml glass of water before taking a single bite to eat. Then try and carry a 1 litre drink bottle with you throughout the day, and drink all of it before you get home. Finally, have another 500ml glass of water with dinner.
This is a very easy way to ensure you are getting in at least 2 litres of water per day (which you will thank me for later)
5. Don’t Let Your Diet Rule Your Life
The last thing I wanted to touch on is more of a mindset thing.
How many times have yo told yourself you are going to eat well, and then tried to stick to that plan with a near religious intent? You then went out to dinner, went off track, and completely beat yourself about it?
If you are anything like me, too many times.
In my mind, you should aim to stick to eating well around 90 percent of the time.
What about the other 10 percent?
Go out for dinner with your friends and family. Have some desert. Have a couple of glasses of wine. A pie at the footy? Go for it.
And most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it.
As important as eating well is, it shouldn’t impact your happiness. Sometimes its about finding balance, doing as well as you possible can for 90 percent of the time,and then getting back on track straight after you have a big night out with friends.
Take Home Message
Eating for health doesn’t have to be complex. All it takes is implementing a few simple steps into your daily life, and sticking to them 90 percent of the time.