Monday, October 20, 2014

K.I.S.S. (Updated)

I originally wrote this post in April of 2012. I thought it was time to revisit the original post and update it.*

“Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” 
-Thomas Kempis

So, you want to finally clean up that diet of yours. Visiting the bookstore, library or researching on the web can be quite overwhelming. Here I've collected a few steps to help you clean up your diet without losing your mind in the process:

Keep It Simple, Silly. 
Do: 
Take Baby steps. Make changes in the way you eat slowly. Instantly cutting out all of your favorite treats and cheats will only frustrate you and cause massive cravings. 

Snack. Yes, snack. Good healthy snacks keep you from overeating at meal times. Eat a small snack between every meal-- a handful of almonds, an apple with almond butter (be sure to check the label for added sugar and salt), Greek yogurt, home made granola, etc. Your body is the most complex machine on the planet. Keep it well-fueled.

Drink water. Not soda. Not Crystal Light. Not sweet tea. My exceptions are coffee and green tea, sweetened w/ natural, stevia based sweeteners.

Eat protein. Make sure you get enough protein in your diet. If you're exercising, you should be consuming daily about .7 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. *If you choose a ketogenic diet, you need less protein. *If you aren't active, you should be.

Eat fiber. Fiber will make you feel full and also helps clean your system. Studies have shown that increasing your fiber intake, reduces your chances of getting certain types of cancer. Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast and can be very versatile: add apples and cinnamon, or bananas and peanut butter, or pumpkin and pumpkin pie seasoning with walnuts, or blueberries, or a few dark chocolate chips. I also add a scoop of protein powder to get a complete meal.

Eat "real" food. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Choose fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. You will be amazed at how good real food tastes and how fake processed food tastes. 

Read labels. "All Natural" can still mean added sugar and salt. "Contains Real Fruit Juice" can mean 5% juice (Fyi: fruit snacks are just glorified candy.). "Zero Trans Fat" can still mean high fat, added sugar, added dyes, etc. And that's just to name a few. Check the ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, then do you really want to put it in your body?

Eat more fat. Low fat, high carb diets have helped Americans get fatter. Companies who produce low fat products replace the fat with sugar or chemicals. Butter from grassfed cows, beef, chicken thighs, avocados, nuts, 

Don't:
Don't Diet. Your best chance for success is to begin modifying what you already eat. You will have to say good bye to some foods, but I have found that restriction-- creating a list of "do not eat"-- only creates craving and obsessing about the forbidden. It's human nature, really. We want most what we cannot have.

Don't Eat processed food. The more packaged it is, the more processed. If you absolutely can't give up the processed foods, then switch to whole grains. No white breads or pasta. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice takes some time to get used to, but it's more flavorful than white and more nutritious.  

Don't Eat deep fried food, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stay with me and breathe. Ever notice that all fried food tastes pretty similar? It's because it's usually cooked in the same nasty oil. Gross! Use olive oil to sauté your potatoes, or zucchini, or chicken. Just don't drown it in oil. As for sugar and artificial sweeteners, sugar (including simple carbs) causes blood sugar spikes. Artificial sweeteners trigger cravings. Use honey or stevia. 

Don't Skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping meals will make you HANGRY. Your body needs a constant energy source throughout the day. 

So, this is where I started. I've noticed an improvement in the way I feel-- balanced, not as many energy spikes and lulls, and not as many mood swings. I allow myself a cheat meal or two during the week, and I don't beat myself up. I don't  get on the scale and obsess about my weight because I know that if I am feeding my body good, healthy fuel in reasonable amounts (watch serving size!) and working out regularly, I will stay at a healthy weight. 

*I'm not a registered dietician-- just a healthy chick who's done a ton of research and tried lots of diets.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information! I know I need to cut out a lot of what I eat and drink; but find it difficult to do that. This information is very helpful!!

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  2. Thanks for this! I tend to be an 'all or nothing' personality so I know that trying to change diet overnight isn't very successful :) I've gradually made changes over the years and I can tell a difference! Now I just need to incorporate consistent exercise and drinking enough water! :)

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