Oh my goodness – diet and nutrition is everywhere these days!
And every expert, celebrity trainer and everyone in between is trying to lure you into joining their programme or way of thinking because they know best and they are going to help you out…Right?!
Everyone knows (and has probably lived through) there is always so much focus on how much you eat. It gets WAY too much attention and while it does have an effect on your weight and energy levels, it’s certainly not the be all and end all of health and wellbeing.
Let’s shine the spotlight on the proven and often overlooked benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.
What you eat and drink
The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being overshadowed with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.
When the focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. Because we kinda knew that already hey?
I’m not saying you can’t continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to pay attention to what you eat as well.
Ideally your diet should be full of minimally- processed foods (i.e. not ‘packaged’ or ‘ready-to-eat’ foods). It’s a pretty simple concept and it’s paramount for increasing energy levels, weight loss, and your overall health and wellbeing.
This is what you should aim for every day:
- A rainbow of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Sufficient protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
- Healthy fats and oils (not “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them. They are the building blocks for your hormones and brain to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your super-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don’t need to overdo it you just need to make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.
How you eat and drink
Also you should pay attention to how you eat and drink.
More and more studies are showing that this has more of an impact than we have thought in the past.
Are you always in a rush, not chewing your food properly, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?
When it comes to how you eat let’s have a look at ‘mindful eating’ first.
Mindful eating means to taking smaller bites, chewing more, eating slowly and, savour every mouthful. Take note of and appreciate all the smells, tastes and textures. Breathe. Enjoy.
By doing this you give your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.
This can aid in weight loss because by slowing down you often eat less. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. Did you know that?
It is also important to know that the more thoroughly food is chewed the easier it is to digest which in turn makes it easier for your body to absorb all the essential nutrients.
And don’t forget about drinking your food.
Yep, smoothies can be healthy and a super easy and flavour filled way to get some fruits and veggies in but, drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.
Don’t get me wrong green smoothies can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is a waaaay better than stopping for junk food – but you should consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And take your time, don’t skull it down too fast.
If a smoothie doesn’t seem to fill you up like having a meal does try adding in a spoon of fibre like chia seeds or ground flax seeds.
What’s important is not just how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.
Recipe: Chia Peach Green Smoothie
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).
Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.
Blend, Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to suit your taste.
Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they also contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.