My past nutrition advice: Eat real food. Drink water more than you drink other things.
My new advice: Eat like a fucking grown up.
I’m tired of getting asked nutrition questions that are really just people wishing I would tell them it’s ok to eat crap. Stop. That’s like asking a rich person for financial advice and hoping they tell you buy shit all the time and don’t save or invest in anything. We all know better. We know deep down that at some point… we need to get our shit together. I also know that once we get into certain habits, we don’t always remember some of the basics. So, unless you’re really broke, are in college, or are 12 yeras old and in charge of buying your meals, here’s a quick reminder of how to eat like an adult:
1} If you don’t know how, you should learn how to cook (using the stove, not the microwave).
Look, you don’t have to zest, or sear, or saute or broil right out of the gate… but you should know some basics. The good news is there’s plenty of free content out there. Check out a cook book from the library or purchase one cheap at a flea market. Pick a recipe that seems good and try it out. Keep in mind that it takes a few tries to “nail it” so try making it once a week until you feel comfortable then move on to something else. The several home delivery services out there will also deliver the food and recipes to your step, and you can learn some cool cooking tricks from making their meals. Sign up for a cooking class, ask a friend for help, whatever it is… start figuring it out a little bit at a time.
2} It ain’t gotta be fancy… Or expensive.
I have never purchased flax seed. I don’t drink kombucha. I haven’t ordered wheatgrass. Some things I buy organic and others I don’t. The point: You don’t have to spend $300 at Whole Foods or cook insanely intricate recipes to feel like you’re eating right. But you’re not gonna get quality food from a fast food drive-thru.
Most times we’ll season and grill some type of meat or fish, and cut up two types of vegetables and throw it on a plate. There’s no giant recipe, there aren’t more than 3 ingredients, and it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to prepare. I save the more complex recipes (lots of ingredients or the ones that take longer) for the weekend, when I have more time.
3} Eat your damn vegetables.
“But I don’t like vegetables.” < – Stop. It’s not like there are only 3 vegetables out there. There are some that are semi-sweet, there are some that are savory, and most you can cook multiple ways. And don’t forget about seasoning! Adding some pepper to vegetable is a great start.
“But salad dressing/cooking with butter is fatty.” Oh, so you’ll avoid vegetables because cooking them in butter is “unhealthy” but you’ll have a bowl of Fruity Pebbles for dinner instead? Like I said: Stop. Veggies cooked in real butter taste amazing. Just don’t cook them in more than a tablespoon (depending on how much you’re cooking) and you’ll be fine. If you feel like you’re going overboard, use olive oil. For salads, use balsamic vinegar.
Remember that our taste buds change over time. Seriously, they do. I used to hate asparagus as a kid, along with avocado and honey mustard dressing. All 3 are my jam now. So try to have an open mind and re-try certain foods as you age. Also, try preparing food differently than you had it in the past. I never liked sweet potatoes as a kid because I had them as “candied yams” and they were too mooshy and sweet. Now I bake them and use them in burrito bowls with black beans, corn, peppers, and tomatoes, and I love ’em that way.
4} Dinner before dessert.
There’s a reason our parents made us eat dinner before dessert when we were kids. I used to think they were just trying to keep me from living my life… as most kids tend to think, but they had a point. If you eat the real food first, you’ll likely eat less dessert (which usually consists of crappy/sugary non-food). If you do it backwards, you’ll be tempted to do it like that all the time. The next thing you know your clothes are too small and you can’t get up one flight of stairs without losing your breath.
5} Knock it off with the Mountain Dew & energy drinks.
You don’t need 8,000 mgs of caffeine and 20 tablespoons of sugar to get your energy up for the day. Figure out a coffee or tea combo that you like and stick with that. (Remember that for every 4g of sugar in the nutrition contents, you’ve got a tablespoon of sugar in your drink. The average soda has 8 tbs!) And most people don’t have just one, but up to 4 of these drinks per day.
> > > The best idea: go to bed earlier & get more sleep to feel energized the next day. That shit is free.
6} Supplements are not meals.
Supplement. noun: something that completes or enhances something else. As in… you’re not supposed to LIVE off whey protein and fish oil. You’re supposed to eat things that already have protein and omega 3s in them. Supplement only if your doctor has done blood work and tells you you’re in need of something specific. The days of ‘meal replacement’ shakes are gone. Don’t do it.
7} Don’t let convenience get in the way of your health.
I know that going to the drive thru is faster and “easier” but is it really worth feeling like crap all the time and having no energy? Take 20 -30 minutes each night and cook yourself dinner. If you make enough, you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. Instead of spending $5/morning on drive through coffee or breakfast, put that money toward some fresh eggs, veggies, and making your own coffee or tea.
You don’t have to be perfect, but if you were to pie chart what you eat, the ‘Real food’ slice should be at least 3 times larger than the ‘everything else’ slice, not the other way around.
Moral of the story:
Regardless of what it is, take a little bit more time for yourself, for your body.
Like that old hair commercial used to say, “You’re worth it.”
In other news: FitwithFlash.com has a Facebook page now!
(Better 7 years late than never, right?)
And: The FIRST50 coupon code is almost used up for the Fit Clubs.