There is a certain charm to simplicity. Simple things are easy to adapt, adopt and abandon. Unfortunately, simplicity dies a sorry death each time, every time. You know why? Simple things don’t come with bragging rights. Simplicity lacks exclusivity, and can be adopted by anyone and everyone.
People forget, simple things, whether it is automobile designs, architecture, dinner dresses, or diet plans work much better than the overtly complicated embellished substitutes.
Today, I am going to talk about NUTRITION. Yes! Hit the word on google and there are a zillion results, talking about the latest fad diet, nutrient timing, how meat is bad, juicing is in, movie star diets and a zillion other findings that affirms how your current diet will lead you to debilitation and DEATH!
But this post is about SIMPLE STUFF. So for starters lets cut through the internet clutter, chuck counting calories, raiding vegan recipes or paleo diet problems. Here is a quick checklist to eating clean.
MAGNIFY THE MACROS. Yes, the macronutrients. Carbohydrates, Proteins and fats. Ideally your meals should have 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 30% GOOD FATS.
Eyeball your meals. Ask yourself. What does my breakfast look like? Does it have enough carbohydrates to get me through the day? Adequate proteins for repair and maintenance of my muscles, and fats so that the body can manufacture essential lipids and hormones. Fruit and fibre to provide me with minerals and vitamins and that’s that.
EAT REAL FOOD
Now what the hell does that mean? Eat food that GOD made for you. Here is a clue, protein sources have feathers, fins and fur. They swim, walk on two or four legs. (chicken, turkey, fish lamb, beef, pork)
Plant sources grow above and beneath the ground. (Green leafy vegetables, potatoes, onions etc) Fats come in the form of nuts and seeds (eg almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, coconut).
Real foods have a short shelf life. You put them out and they go stale.
On the other hand man made foods, they have a much longer shelf life. You know why? Because it’s very little food and primarily preservatives, full of fake flavours and colours that do your body no good.
Also man made foods are processed, as a result the glycemic index or the propensity of the food to raise your Insulin (blood sugar/glucose) is pretty high. Constant spike in sugar levels courtesy chips, cookies and donuts and processed carbs is the main culprit behind obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart diseases and some horrible cancers. Too much sugar and starch causes your body to hoard fat.
To cut a long story short, real foods are the ones with shorter shelf life, and are good for you. The longer the shelf life of a food item the more processed and preservative loaded it is, and constant consumption will wreak havoc on your hormones. Bottom line, Get Real! And Eat Clean!
BE YOUR OWN NUTRITIONIST
Yes, don’t just copy paste a diet plan off the web. Design your own diet. And for god sake don’t follow movie star diets. Just because Hugh Jackman consumed 5000 calories a day to get jacked, or Kiera Knightley survived on orange juice to get skinny doesn’t mean it will work for you too.
Get one thing straight, our bodies are different. The way they process and digest food is different too. For eg Jackman could get away with stuffing 5000 calories but aping the same meal plan might leave you tired, gassy and bloated.
So here is what you can do. First things first, try and eliminate the bad foods, overtly processed and preservative loaded no matter how much you love them. Next whip out a pen and paper, note down foods that you love eating, ones you don’t mind once in a while and foods that you won’t eat unless someone held a gun to your head.
Be as broad as possible and cherry pick food items on the basis of quality (good carbs and fats, leafy greens/lean meats), taste, preferences and nutritional value. Mix and match food items for three meals with the ideal macronutrient proportion. Then monitor your meals on three parameters.
1) How do I feel after I eat this meal?
2) How do I perform when I eat clean? Energy levels, moods etc.
3) How do I look when I eat clean?
I am not a big fan of following any particular diet but If you are trying out a diet (paleo,zone,vegan,atkins) give it at least 3 weeks and analyse on the parameters. If you LOOK, FEEL & PERFORM good, then continue or else bin it.
Remember the best diet is the one that WORKS FOR YOU!
ITS COOL TO HAVE CHEAT DAYS
I don’t have any scientific research to back this claim, so use your discretion before you adopt this tip. But think about it, it’s all about balance isn’t it? Being a calorie counting nutritional nazi is no fun.
Plus some dietary decadence prevents you from derailing from the eating clean track. Once a week whatever your comfort food is, indulge in it. Put aside guilt pangs, or stressing about the weighing scale. Some days I smash my face with beer and countless cinnamon donuts, and feel awfully good about it.
So, that is that…Eating clean isn’t that tough as its made out to be. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. The simpler your nutrition the longer you will be able to stick to it.