Master Your Nutrition: 5 Rules for Simple Healthy EatingApr 22, 2023
5 Rules For Healthier Eating
Thought of the week:
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are." - Brillat-Savarin
In this week's Dose, I share 5 simple rules that help me eat the food that brings me the most energy, clarity, and focus during my day.
With any routine, I try to keep things as simple as possible.
Complexity kills consistency.
And when it comes to things like exercise, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and mental health... consistency reigns supreme.
~72% of adults are overweight.
CONSISTENCY got them there and it'll take consistency to get them out.
But this isn't about weight gain.
It's what's happening to our bodies on the inside and how we're nowhere near feeling our best.
We feel like crap, don't know why, and don't know how to fix it.
But it's WAY easier than we think.
Ever since 2013, I started paying attention to my food.
It was the first time I started tracking everything I ate (protein, carbs, fats) in an attempt to lose fat for a beach bod.
I learned a ton just by measuring + recording all my food (and recommend everyone do this for 7 days).
And although my diet would evolve over the next 7-10 years as I continued to learn...
These 5 things have helped me simplify & improve my nutrition to eat more whole, nutrient-dense foods that are incredibly easy to make.
The 5 Nutrition Rules I Live By:
1. Shop on the OUTER edge of the grocery store.
The first time I heard this I remember literally being jaw-dropped at how simple, yet true this framework was.
And I love a good framework.
Next time you shop, notice how all the boxed, bagged, & processed food is in the center aisles of the store.
Foods packed with seed oils, sugars, preservatives, artificial dyes, emulsifiers, and so much more (Wait, why do we think it's normal to consume emulsifiers in the first place??).
Whole foods, veggies, fruits, herbs, meat, eggs, etc are all along the outer edge (sans the frozen fruit thanks to my Trader Joe's recent shuffle).
Try this rule out for the next month and you'll be surprised how simple shopping becomes.
2. Prep 3-4 days of food in advance.
I've gone periods of time prepping food for a week in advance and also making my meal immediately before I ate.
The 3-4 day window was a perfect balance for me as the food still tasted great and the idea of prep didn't overwhelm me like sometimes it did when I would need to prepare for the whole week.
Instead of thinking about prepping whole MEALS, think about prepping ingredients instead (see next rule).
I'll make 3-5 pounds of meat at a time, always have fruit on hand, and will sautee veggies in bulk (in olive oil) so I just have to heat them up.
Food tastes a little better when it's fresh, but we're going for consistency and FEELING our best here.
3. 5 ingredients or less.
Each time you build your plate, have no more than 5 ingredients.
Spoiler: This is near impossible if you eat processed food.
Start with protein.
Whether you eat meat or you're plant-based, make protein your priority when planning a meal.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or maintain or gain muscle... make protein #1.
My framework 👉 Meat, plant(s), healthy fat, fermented food (greek yogurt or kimchi are my go-tos).
PS This is more of a loose guideline than a hard rule.
4. 90% rule.
I've found that I feel my best when I hit 90%+ with my nutrition.
Which means I'll have takeout meals only 5-6 per MONTH.
Everything else, I make at home.
When you order a meal on Door Dash, it's around $20 per person if you stick to basic options(!)
By cooking the majority of my meals, I eat for $14.65 per day (I did the math).
That's 100% whole foods, ~3,000 calories, and I'm hitting 190g of protein.
All of this to fuel ~10-15 hours of exercise per week, feel energized for work, and hit the macros I need without gaining fat or losing muscle.
Most importantly, it enables me to control what goes into my food (and my body) to avoid any added sugar or seed oils restaurants use.
And I'm human... so I still love a California burrito.
5. No food within 2 hours of bedtime.
I haven't had alcohol in 8 months, so if I ever feel hungover, it's from food.
After tracking my data with WHOOP (fitness band) for 2 years, it's clear that when I eat close to my bedtime my sleep suffers, and often get a swollen feeling like I'm hungover.
Which causes me to have less energy, focus, and motivation the next day.
Eating too close to bed can make it hard to settle into our first cycle of deep sleep - the first ~90 minutes - which impacts our ability to optimally repair & recover.
The more you can create consistency in WHAT & WHEN you eat, the easier it'll be.
Consistency is KEY to feeling better with food.
So remember the 5 Rules...
- Shop on the outer edge of the store
- Prep 3-4 days of food
- 5 or less ingredients
- Aim for 90% whole foods
- Avoid eating before bed
Keep it simple.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
I WILL respond to you. 😎