Oh my gosh – it’s January and nutrition and diet info is everywhere!
And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?
Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat, especially carbs. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.
Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.
What you eat and drink
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?
You can certainly still continue to count your calories, but don’t forget to also pay attention to what that calorie is coming from.
If we go back to the basics, it’s understand we need to minimize processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.
But let’s go a bit deeper on the carb controversy, it’s not the calories from carbs that matter, as much as the type of carb. You see whole food, slow digesting carbs are full of fibre, nutrients and boost energy, health and weight loss.
Every day this is what you should aim for:
- ‘Slow Carbs’: A colourful array of whole food veggies at almost every meal and snack, with the odd piece of fruit. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
- Condiment with healthy fats and oils. There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.
- Focus on quality over quantity
How you eat and drink
Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.
Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.
Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food all day long?
When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.
Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that most attempts to change eating habits fail due to emotion and stress coming in and taking over?
Of course you did – it’s happened to all of us!
So being mindful and managing our stress has a huge impact on how we eat and absorb our food. Especially when we are rushed or our minds are not paying attention to what we are eating.
How often did you even forget what you had for breakfast or lunch?
We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.
And don’t forget about drinking your food
Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.
Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don’t gulp it down too fast. Always remember to chew that smoothie!
If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds. It’s will keep you regular also.
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it. Sticking to the basics of whole food, chewing our food and mindful eating are 3 ways to simply your New Year’s goals of eating healthier.
And if you haven’t already sign up for my New Year 5 Day Rebalance Challenge, because we all know it’s more than just what’s on your plate that matters!
Happy New Year! Happy New You!
Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie
1 cup spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).
Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.
Blend, Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.
Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.
Join My Free 5 Day Rebalance Challenge