Nutritional Overview - an Introduction
There are a number of articles preceding this one that helped set the Physical Activity foundation of our Performance Pyramid. Now, we move on to nutrition.
Before we get into any details, I want to reiterate something important:
"Life is for living."
When it comes to eating that can be interpreted as, "food is to be enjoyed."
Over the years, as I have counseled with great success countless people from top CEO's and business owners to teenagers on their exercise nutrition, complete with lab results, DXA scans, exercise tests and other diagnostics on the table in front of us, I learned some really valuable things:
1. Subjective data matters. How you feel about your food and your relationship with food is important to us. But, that alone won't get us all the way to our goals. In our experience, it takes at least three tries before we get about an 80% truth rate on someone's dietary recall during intake. Over the years, by building trust and reputations, we have likely improved these rates.
"Trying to eat healthy" has been the starter for nearly every nutritional consult ever. But, at the same time, every person on this planet has a very emotional attachment to the foods s/he eats. Some foods we eat are ingrained in us from childhood, like when my Mother used to feed us cheese, grapes and crackers as a snack, and my Grandmother who still makes her famous, homemade spaghetti and meatballs every Sunday. Those "memories" are firmly planted on my taste-buds. What are your strongest food memories? Check out "First Bite" by Bee Wilson for a nice, fun read on how we learn how to eat from our earliest days
Link - https://www.amazon.com/First-Bite-How-Learn-Eat/dp/0465064981
2. Objective data alone won't get someone very far. But, when combined with our subjective, it gives us a great launching point. Then, we are best served by "humanizing" it, which leads to our third point.
3. The most important part of the nutritional equation is the person behind the eyes - her/his emotions, level of interest, education and current life stresses and goals, plus more, all affect food decision making.
We believe we can all rid ourselves of any guilty feelings we might have towards food if we find a way of eating that is mostly healthy for us, and especially one that is automated. In other words, making good food-based decisions should not require a whole lot of thought.
Look, life happens. You are going to attend parties and holidays. Dinner and cocktails with friends for their birthdays happens every day around the world. This stuff will pop up.
But, perhaps our most perplexing question for nutrition is, "What to do the rest of the time?"
Like kids in school, structure is essential. Most of nutrition is not just centered on what you are putting in your mouth, but the psychology behind it. Having no attitude towards food leaves you to the devices of your hormonal state at the time of eating. This can be bad for your health when done repeatedly. The trick is in automating good solutions before you are even hungry - have your next meal ready, or at least your food-seeking instincts honed. More to follow in subsequent articles.
Now, here are some aperitifs as we steer towards the nutritional component of our Performance Pyramid:
"Diet" is a four-letter word. From now on, we refer to the subject as:
Feeding! (if you're of the silverback, gym-going type)
Ingestion! (some people like shakes)
(insert your favorite word not listed here)
The first priorities in your eating should be PREPARATION and PLANNING. Education is bundled in there, and that is the point of this blog.
Do you know what the first ingredient in food preparation is?
Not trying to be corny or overly emotional, but it's true. If you are hurried or uninspired by what you are preparing, or if you don't love what you are about to cook/eat, it will almost certainly not taste good. The more you work to explore your tastes and expand your palate, the happier and more joyful your eating experiences will be! Often, people who travel most vividly remember a great meal or dining experience they had from any given trip. Can you think of any great meals you have had while traveling?
When it comes to planning out your eating patterns (what's this?), the first topic of consideration is any food limitation(s) you may have, whether it be due to:
- Personal beliefs - religious or secular
- A medical condition such as (clearly diagnosed) food allergies, presence of bacteria or parasites in your GI tract, IBS, ulcer, chronic disease (cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and so on)
- Food intolerance
- You simply do not like a food and will not eat it
Tune in next time for more on actual information on nutrition. We'll continue to climb the Performance Pyramid until we hit the top. If you stay with us until the end, you will likely have developed a really solid personal philosophy towards food that works for you over the long term.
We'll leave this here for now. Have a wonderful day.