There are like eight-million different diets on the market, and an additional one million blog posts arguing about which one of these diets work best. Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit on the numbers, but I think you get the point. Every health professional has his or her own opinion, every magazine article features the latest diet that’s the best yet, and everyone thinks their diet works best. Gahhh! It drives me nuts! We are being pushed to eat a certain way, workout a certain way, and live a healthy lifestyle the way others see fit. While attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we studied over one-hundred diets. There were the obvious ones; vegan, vegetarian, mediterranean and paleo. Then there were the diets that encouraged no fat, healthy fat, and everything in-between. It quickly made me realize, people who are looking to live a healthy lifestyle could quickly become overwhelmed with the plethora of information, and then just as quickly give up because there are so many different opinions and views. How do we know which one will work best? Today is your lucky day, because I’m here to settle it. There is NO one way or eating or working out that fits everyone. Each of us are uniquely made. So, I present this question, why would we all eat the same? In my opinion, we shouldn’t. I encourage my clients to try different ways of eating, while listening to his or her body, and then responding accordingly. Over the years, I’ve learned certain foods work well for my system, and certain foods that quite frankly don’t. I’ve learned what’s enough, and what’s not enough. The truth is, I’m always learning about my body, and I encourage you to do the same. While there’s no one size fits all diet, here’s what foods I’m learning work for me.
There is not a day that goes by, in which my morning doesn’t begin with a large mug of warm lemon water. It helps to detoxify my system, get everything moving (if you know what I mean), and maintain a healthy glow throughout the day. It’s also great for balancing pH levels in the system and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes, I’ll add fresh slices of ginger and one teaspoon of raw organic honey. Delicious! After getting my water in, I like to kick off the day with a nutritional green smoothie. Don’t shy away from the green color, you can’t even taste it! I load my smoothie with fresh fruits, veggies, ice, and coconut milk or water. For an added boost, I toss in ground flax, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. It’s a good feeling when I leave my home, knowing that I’ve put a heaping amount of fresh produce in my system!
MID-MORNING SNACK || POST WORKOUT
After teaching a class or two at Pure Barre, and then taking class myself, I refuel my temple with the energy it needs to recover the muscles. At this point I will eat something with a little protein, like my recovery bars (page one under recipes), and a green juice. This helps me to replenish and keep going as I make my way to run errands, meet with clients, or get the rest of my work done for the day. Also, please note, if I’m not teaching or working out, I’ll usually avoid a mid-morning snack and enjoy a decaf coffee or tea.
I’m not a big lunch person, rather a grazer, but I do understand that my body calls for this energy come 1:00pm. So lately, I can’t get enough of my healthy egg sandwiches. I feel like eggs are a really good way to get protein, healthy fats, and even more nutrients all in one. I season my eggs really well, place over two pieces of toasted Ezekiel Bread, and top with fresh spinach. It’s quick, easy, and so good for you. If I’m really watching my fats, I may only use one whole eggs and then an egg white.
This is the time of day where everyone’s cravings creep up. Our sugar levels dip, energy levels plummet, and the stomach growls begin to kick in. It’s too early for dinner, but you can’t ignore the body asking for something to keep going. This is where i sneak in a green juice (only if I didn’t have one in the morning), or veggies and hummus, or a small handful of nuts and seeds. Always listen to your body and give it what it needs. There’s no reason to starve yourself!
I like to think of the phrase, “lean and green.” We aren’t moving much after dinner, so think about how that food will digest, and how what you’re putting into your body will be used. I stay away from heavy carbs most of the time, as I know I’m most likely not going to be burning it off. Usually, I stick with something like a fresh piece of wild caught salmon and heaping serving of greens. This also helps me from having an upset stomach due to food combinations that don’t work well together.
This also depends on how much I ate during the day, and if my body is asking for something more. Sometimes, I will stick to a decaf team and small piece of chocolate. Other times I’ll enjoy some homemade popcorn, cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with himalayan sea salt and nutritional yeast.
We all see food differently, because we respond to food differently. While this works for me, it certainly may not work for you. You may need more or less for various reasons. If you’re just beginning, here is where I would encourage you to start. Stick to getting in the proper nutrients each day. Aim for the proper servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. Listen to your body after you eat, and give it what it needs to feel its’ best. Don’t be afraid to try a few different styles of eating, introducing new healthy habits, and crowding out choices that aren’t fitting your body. Lastly, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on giving your body what it needs to feel good, and let your system choose for you!