5/18/2021 0 Comments
Why is food so confusing?
We know that tigers eat meat, elephants eat plants, and what other animals need to eat to maintain optimum health. But for humans, why is food so confusing? Should we eat meat? Should we eat only fruits and veggies? How much fat or protein should we eat? I don't know about you but this really stressed me out for a while, especially when I was having digestive issues. I had no idea what I should eat that would be good for my health!
What We Know About Diet and Health
We assume that because we’ve been eating our whole lives that we know how to nourish ourselves. You may be eating the way your parents did or the way your friends do without thinking about whether it will help you achieve your health or life goals.
There are hundreds of different philosophies of eating...keto, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, mediterranean, raw, low carb, low sugar, and many more. When it comes to actual science however, there’s substantial consensus about what foods make us sick and what foods make us healthy, and it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Science supports Michael Pollan's view on what we should eat, " Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Basically, that means we should eat whole foods instead of highly processed foods and most of our calories should come from plants.
It's All About Nutrient Density
The nutrient density of a food is the ratio of beneficial ingredients to the food's energy content for the amount that is commonly consumed. Huh? Just think of the amount of good nourishing stuff that's in whatever you eat. The photo below helps explain this better:
You could eat a large bowl of steamed vegetables or a baked sweet potato or a bowl of black bean soup and only consume 200 calories. That's because these foods are packed with nutrients. On the other hand, you only get three-quarters of a donut or four chicken nuggets or three cubes of cheese for the same calories. These food contain empty calories so you can't eat as much to get the power that's packed into whole foods.
Four to Include, Four to Avoid
The older I get, the less prescriptive I am with my clients. They want to know exactly what kind of diet to follow but I believe this is what makes things too complicated. That's why I now suggest four foods to include in your diet and four foods to avoid.
Whenever possible, include the following in your meals:
Stay away from these as much as possible:
Can You Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?
YES! It's a total myth that you can only get protein from meat. Plants contain protein. After all, how do you think the elephants and giraffes live off of them?
Beans and other legumes, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and even green vegetables are all wonderful sources of protein. It’s virtually impossible to be protein deficient if you eat enough whole food calories. Yes, that’s right. If you eat enough whole foods (even just plant foods), you don’t need to worry about protein. So the concern about getting enough protein on a plant-based diet is unfounded. Eating lots of whole plant foods not only provides enough protein, it also protects from getting too much, which should be your bigger concern.
There's no need to be confused about what to eat. It's easy: eat whole foods that are mostly plants! Learn more about by watching my on-demand workshop: How to Really Nourish Your Body.
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