Let’s be honest, the world of nutrition can drive anyone crazy trying to decipher what’s good for you and what’s not. It can be a nightmare trying to sift through the many conflicting viewpoints and programs.
In honor of National Nutrition Month, and in an effort to make nutrition less intimidating, we asked our nutritional staff to share the top basic tips they give their clients.
Part of good nutrition is knowing what and how to eat. The way foods are assimilated and utilized by the body is directly influenced by the quality of our mental and emotional state while eating. This is largely due to body chemistry. Eating while calm and in a pleasant state promotes the activation of the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which regulates the activity of digestive organs as well as the immune system. Eating under stress, on the other hand, causes the body to secrete hormones and neurotransmitters called catecholamines. When this happens the body diverts resources from digestive function, heart rate increases, eyes dilate, and blood moves to our extremities-priming us for disaster. So make sure you’re focused when you eat and don’t get distracted.
Start the Day Right
What you choose to eat- or not eat- for breakfast can truly set the mood for your whole day. Challenge yourself to feed your body what it needs in the morning: Protein, fat, fiber, and greens. Yes, greens at breakfast! This may take some time to practice but incorporating these four components in your breakfast can empower you for a day ahead of feeling wonderfully satisfied, less stressed, and more in control at lunchtime.
Hydration is a critical component to functioning optimally and supporting weight loss efforts. The general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces. This should fuel brain function, athletic performance, and other important bodily functions to help your body operate at peak levels. Furthermore, studies have shown that drinking two cups of water prior to meals (three times) daily had a significant impact on weight loss.
Eat Your Protein
Build your meals around protein. Consuming protein helps the body build and repair the muscles from your workouts as well as to make enzymes and hormones. When it comes to carbohydrates, eat them before your big activity or workout. The increased blood sugar will help fuel you so you can perform at your best.
Control Your Blood Sugar
Losing extra body fat is a lot easier when you learn how to keep your blood sugar under control. By avoiding too many simple carbs, you give your body the best chance to burn fat. Make sure you don’t overconsume any food, especially sugars and starchy carbohydrate foods (beige foods). Beige foods are usually manufactured and tend to come in bags and boxes. Fruit is a nutritious carb food, but too much will easily get stored as fat so be careful to limit your intake to 1-2 servings per day. If you do get peckish between meals, grab something that won’t over-elevate your blood sugar such as celery, a fist full of nuts, a small piece of organic cheese, or a UCAN bar.
Keep your Gut Healthy
Bone broth is quite possibly one of the oldest meals on record, going back to the Stone Age. It may also be one of the most healing. Incredibly nutritious and easy to digest, bone broth contains profound immune-optimizing components that are important building blocks for the healing of leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Other benefits include bone and joint health, skin health, nervous and digestive system support, and strong hair and nails. It also aids in tissue healing and repair and helps to facilitate a good night’s sleep. Some good options you can pick up at your local grocery store are Butchers and Pacific. If you choose to make your own bone broth, it is easy to prepare, but there are some simple tricks when preparing it to make sure you get the most nutritional value out of it.