5 Essential Fit Nutrition Basics
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image by Andreas Levers

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Of course, I think every month is nutrition month. One, because nutrition is the most critical but least adhered to part of a fitness journey.  Two, because there is always something happening in the nutrition news.

That’s what makes eating for health and fitness so confusing for most people. There is always a new study coming out, often contradicting the last nutritional breakthrough. For example we were told not eat to eggs, at least the yokes, because they are high in cholesterol and public enemy #1 when it came to heart disease. Now it appears they aren’t as high in cholesterol as we once thought, dietary cholesterol isn’t the culprit for heart disease and there’s lots of good stuff in the yolk like vitamin D and choline. Talk about a 180 in thinking. No wonder most of my clients come in confused about eggs.

I have some basic beliefs when it comes to food and nutrition. Despite everything we’ve learned since I started my own fitness journey 13 years ago, I believe these basics will give you the biggest bang for your nutritional buck. They aren’t earthshattering or revolutionary but if you follow these nutrition basics you will notice a difference in how you look and feel.

  • Drink plenty of water. The human body is made up of approximately 60% water. Our mental and physical performance can be significantly impacted when we are as little as 10% dehydrated. You can’t go wrong with making sure you drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Eat breakfast everyday. Don’t rely on caffeine to fuel you in the morning. Your brain needs glucose to think. By eating a good breakfast of carbs and protein you will have enough fuel for the body and the mind to start the day.
  • Make your plate as colorful as possible. No, I don’t mean to always eat off Fiestaware (although we do at my house). I mean minimize white/beige foods (white bread, white potatoes, white sugar) and maximize the bright colors in things like sweet potatoes, spinach, apples and berries.  The more colors you consume the better; the different colors symbolize different phytonutrients.
  • Most of your calories should come from foods you make or prepare. Even white bread you make from scratch is going to be better than white bread from the grocery story. It will have fewer preservatives and you won’t be adding high fructose corn syrup in your own kitchen.  Things like beans, pasta sauces and salad dressing are easy to make on your own, taste better and you will avoid hidden sugars.
  • Take a multi-vitamin daily. I know I am going to get a lot of disagreement on this one but I will stand by it. A multi-vitamin is an insurance policy. I don’t know how much zinc or selenium I got in my foods yesterday and you probably don’t either. My goal is to get a wide variety of nutrients from my food but my multi-vitamin is there to cover the gaps.

I listen to all the latest discoveries in the nutrition field but it will take a lot of evidence for me to sway from these basics.

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