This is the first in a series of articles on nutrition. As I am writing it, I realize that it will have to be somewhat general, since I cannot cover all the juicy details in one post. I am very excited about sharing the secrets that made a huge difference for me in staying in shape and full of energy over the years, as well as seeing a client of mine leaving his blood-pressure medication in the dust as he followed my philosophies on nutrition, exercise and mental reconditioning.
The majority of conventional food is processed and delivers empty calories, i.e. calories void of nutritional value. Eating empty calories cause a craving for more food than our body can effectively digest. These excess calories settle in our bodies as pounds and ponds of fat.
The problems with eating processed foods are many. Here are just a few:
- It is almost impossible to reduce food/calorie intake if your body does not receive the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy. This is because you constantly feel hungry.
- Processed foods lack enzymes. Enzymes help break down nutrients, therefore the nutrients that are in the processed food do not get absorbed and DO NOT benefit your body. As a result, you eat more food and gain weight.
- Mis-combining is one of the main causes of indigestion. It prevents absorption of nutrients. Many processed foods have ingredients that do not work well together, thus cause indigestion and weight-gain.
- Most of the processed foods have chemical preservatives and sweeteners that are poisonous to your body. To protect itself from these toxins, the body builds a layer of fat to store toxins and keep them away from your vital organs.
- Most of the vitamins that the processed food companies advertise on the food labels have no potency whatsoever, due to processing. Vitamin Starvation = Weight Gain.
- Food companies create processed foods to overwhelm the taste buds and fortify addiction to their flavors. This overdose on artificial flavoring dulls your healthy taste buds. Suddenly, a raw fruit or berries don’t taste as good. Killing your natural taste buds with additives leads to more cravings and eating processed foods, which again equals weight gain.
The answer to overeating and cravings is not in the hunger-suppression pill. Instead, you need to listen to your body. The way to eliminate cravings, including the late night cravings, is to eat whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and unprocessed mono-saturate and poly-saturated oils throughout the day.
Also, you need to reprogram your mind and develop new habits that will allow you to deal with stress and emotional upsets of life in new ways, ways that do not involve eating. (Click here to read articles on Mental Reconditioning).
What are whole foods?
Whole foods are easy to identify as they do not have an Ingredients label because… well, there is only one ingredient – an apple is just an apple; raw almonds are just almonds (compare it to almond roasted in oil and frosted with salt or/and sweetener). Raw (uncooked and unprocessed) whole foods have the most active nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They also have live enzymes that help digestion and boost your immune system.
Of course, if you are not a vegetarian, you need to cook meat and eggs, but the fewer ingredients you mix in, the better they will digest. A classic example of gross mis-combining is meat with simple carbohydrates or starch combination. Even the tiniest amount of simple carbs (like pasta or rice) or starches (like potatoes) combined with meat will through the body into an indigestive frenzy. A much better combination would be having meat with complex carbs, such as leafy salad or green veggies.
If you like sashimi (raw fish without rice), you can feast on delicious salads, topped with olive oil and sashimi! I call this diet “sushiterian” ;). All the goodness of raw protein from fish, combined with the subtle flavors, vitamins and minerals of greens – very nutritious for non-vegetarians.
I use the following guidelines for daily percentages of calories derived from food:
- 40% from complex carbs (RAW: dark leafy greens, colorful veggies, fruit, berries – whole, not juiced)
- 30% of calories from proteins (veggies that are high in protein, beans or animal protein, such as eggs)
- 30% from mono-saturated and poly-saturated fat: RAW oils (uncooked olive oil, grape seed oil, etc.), raw almonds and other nuts. Tip: when you heat up oil during cooking, it converts poly- and mono-saturated fat into saturated fat. For this reason, it is best to consume oils raw.
Note: I eat 80-90% raw and completely unprocessed. Also, when I do eat meat or eggs, I use organic or non-hormone treated produce and wild-caught fish, whenever possible.
Other nutritional guidelines that I use:
- Sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners are NOT part of my diet. I use Stevia (an herb) to sweeten my whole grain serial on occasion.
- I do not eat any bread, pasta or rice. As much as I (use to) like these foods, I found that completely eliminating them from my diet was the only way I could maintain my ideal weight. Dr. Michael Colgan explains how the body processes each element in food in his awesome book “Optimum Sports Nutrition”. This book has been my nutritional bible since 1994.
- Eat primarily foods that are low on the glycemic index, i.e. the foods that do not get absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly due to high fructose content. This means eating a whole pear as opposed to drinking pear juice, fresh fruit instead of dehydrated fruit.
- Give up salt. Instead, spice-up your food with natural seasonings like curry, cinnamon, cumin, mustard seeds, cayenne, etc. More flavorful food will leave you more satisfied. Aroma of the food plays an important part in healthy digestion. When I open my spice cabinet, the bouquet of flavors is delicious! It’s a feast for the senses!
- Water, of course! Drink lots of fresh, clean water throughout the day! Also, I like drinking green and herbal teas between meals. A tip: avoid drinking water/tea within 30 minutes of meals as they dilute the digestive juices.
Healthy nutrition is a science and art. It is an art of listening to your body and loving yourself enough to enjoy that which will make you healthy and happy in the long run. Your body is changing cells constantly… this very moment, as you are reading these words, old cells die and new are created. As you nourish your body with fresh whole foods, it rebuilds itself into a beautiful, healthy, new you.
Affirmation for the day:
“Fresh fruit and veggies are divine nourishment. Eating them makes me feel like a Goddess. Juicy, fresh berries satisfy every taste bud in my mouth. I love their refreshing, delicious nourishment.”
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