... because this is my philosophy on nutrition.
This article will have footnotes at the bottom of the page. If there is any subject that you would like to reference, please look. Many of the understandings I have about health have been a mixture of ideas collected over the years, and I will need to find material to back up what I say. My goal for this paper will give a brief over view about how to eat for function vs. pleasure. Peoples understanding around food, where it comes from, what it does, and its effects on our bodies has been clouded due to mainstream advertising. I will not be writing about the damned 'Food Pyramid' and I hope you forget all visions of ever seeing it. The information I provide will not be centered around one preferred diet. We are all different, we need different things, we have access to different things. I hope you can take this information and integrate it with you life appropriately.
What Sparked This
It is flu season around the country, and for the last few days I have been restricted to bed. I am a very healthy person, therefore my flu has not surpassed a minor fever and runny nose. I always refuse to take any shots, because I do not support multi-trillion dollar pharmaceutical companies. Plus I believe in 'Preventing' sickness rather then 'Medicating' it, know the difference. The healthier you are, the easier you make it for your body to do what it is naturally good at. We are complex carbon based life forms that have taken 75 million years to evolve into what we are now (Footnote 01, 02). Our bodies on average consist of 70% water depending on age, and the rest is made of single cell organisms that function together to make our bodies work. What most people have not herd is that you contain 10 times more bacteria in your system then you do human cells (Footnote 03). There are little micro worlds that live inside you, and they know what to do. It is a symbiotic relationship between your cells and you, the better the environment you give them, the better environment they give you.
I get frustrated when I see people giving out nutritional advice that either have a lack of knowledge or are driven by advertisers ideals of beauty (Footnote 04). This past year I've realized most people are completely in the dark about food in general, let alone health. This past election we saw California fail in trying to pass Prop 37 which would require labeling of GMOs on all food. I blame L.A. for that, and a person who I once admired for her sharp tongue and no-bull-shit attitude for writing this blog just before the election. Just after that my sister saw some guy on a reality TV show who didn't know if chicken was meat. Then yesterday I watched a Jenna Marbles episode where she talks about her diet, which I stopped watching I became so frustrated.
Maybe its because I found the time, maybe its because I see so many people slowly slipping away from understanding what it means to be healthy. This is the first part to a segment that I will slowly be building up over time.
There are four stages, and they are know as ingestion, digestion, absorption, and elimination (Footnote 05). Ingestion is the start, it is the act of chewing your food and the use of saliva to start breaking down foods. The more effort you put into chewing your food, the easier it is for your body in the next process. Digestion takes place in the stomach where you use enzymes and stomach acid to break down foods. The more enzymes you have in your food, the less stomach acid you need to complete the process (Footnote 06). Then absorption happens in the small intestine where the important nutritional molecules are sent to the appropriate locations in the body. The final stage is where disregarded material is sent into the large intestine for elimination. If matter is left in the large intestine for too long, toxins will be reabsorbed into the body. So it is important to make sure to use fibers to help complete this process.
Step One: Drink More Water
I don't care about how much you drink, you could always be drinking more. I have never herd about anything that didn't require you to drink more water as a solution to your problem. Headache? Chapped lips? Fatigue? Constipated? Dry skin? Yep, water cures it all, and I would guarantee your not drinking enough.
Start your day by Drinking two BIG glasses of water before consuming anything else. Not juice, or coffee, or tea. Just water. (Footnote 07)
Step Two: Eat Real Food
If there was only one piece of advice I could give anybody about food, it would be to never buy anything processed. I understand to most people that is "impossibrue!" Okay fine, if you 'have to' buy something out of the middle aisles, then at least make sure you can pronounce everything within the label of ingredients. The moment you don't know what something is, put it back. No exceptions.
Notice when you walk into a grocery store, how it is laid out. All fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy lay along the outer rim. This is where you should do 95% of you shopping. It really doesn't matter what you buy if you are grabbing it from these locations. Of course some things will be better then others, but I will get into that later series.
If you want to find things like grains or jarred items such as honey, then it is acceptable to wander into the center aisles. This will account for the other 5% of your shopping.
Something to note: The more your body is used to eating processed food, the more you will cave it. This is from added chemicals companies use to create "flavors." Your taste buds have been blown out from sugars and salts that are terrible for your health yet they trick your brain into thinking it is "food." Remember, just because you can chew it, doesn't mean it contains any nutrition your body can use. A perfect example is margarine which is not really a healthy alternative to butter (08). Just because it has a texture, color, and flavor like butter, and has a million dollar add campaign claiming it's a healthy alternative doesn't make it true. Understand the FDA is not concerned about your health, the people paying their bonuses are the people who make these products. (Footnote 09)
So when you first change your diet over to eating non-processed food, understand it will take time for you taste buds to come back and cravings for bad foods to disappear. Once that change has happened, it means you have successfully created a habit out of being healthy.
Step Three: Regular Eating Schedules
I don't know what your day looks like. Maybe your a morning person, or you work 12 hours a day, or your only hungry at night. Whatever the case might be, try to create some sort of eating habit. There are several different diets you can choose, I will cover a few in short detail that I enjoy.
1. If you have a normal 9-5 day and enjoy an early breakfast, then the "Eat before 6" (Footnote 10) diet will work for you. It's as simple as that. You can eat whatever you want, just make sure it is before 6 p.m. Sleeping right after eating is bad for you digestions. So following this rule gives your body plenty of time to do what it needs before shutting down at night. But you have to be strict, absolutely no food can enter your mouth after 6. Drink whatever liquids you like, just no food. Liquids are an entirely different process for your body, they enter your bladder rather then you intestine.
2. An altered version of that, which apparently is taking a big rise in doctor recommended weight loss programs is only eating within a 6 hour period (Footnote 11). This is considered as 'Fasting" by some, but I will not get into that here. Every day, Once you have your first meal, you must consume your food within the next 6 hours. That means for 18 hours of your day you are only consuming fluids. These two diets are about letting you intestine rest. Fasting is something you should look into, it does just that. I would recommend a coconut fast (Footnote 12), or the Mastercleanse (Footnote 13). NOTE: Fasting is a process for detoxifying, not weight loss. Have the right intentions when choosing to do it.
3. The "Abs Diet" (Footnote 14) is a routine for burning fat, triggering after burn, boosting your metabolism, and building muscle. One of the perks is that you HAVE to eat every 2 hours. The complex part, you can only eat certain foods. If following dietary rules is difficult, then don't bother. But if your going after a super hot body, then this is your answer. Either by the book on eBay, or go to the footnote I provided, apparently there is a 21 day free trial you can sign up for.
4. If you are really trying to figure our what foods your body needs, and which ones make you gain weight , then try the South Beach diet (15). This one is used by all the movie stars. It is a three part process, and your diet consists of ONLY proteins and Vegetables. This also has a highly strict eating routine, but the plus is that you will learn what makes your body put on weight. Whether it is carbs, sugars, or fats. I've discovered my body is fine with fats, but sugars are my mortal enemy. The second perk is that by the time you've finished the process, your body will stop having craving for things that are not good for you. You will have established a diet that makes you feel healthy and energized.
Different diets work for different people. So whatever you choose, make it a habit. Habits are easy, that's why we do them.
Step Four: Exercise
Find something that you have fun doing. Make it your routine. Run, Hula hoop, do yoga, dance hard, walk to work or school. Anything! I have a routine of ballet legs and abs that I do every morning that takes me one hour to complete. I get up, drink water, drink my coffee, and then break a sweat. It makes my body feel better, and my muscles align themselves. So while I sit in a chair at work for the next 9 hours, my ass doesn't hurt. I would put this one up there with drinking water. If you could do any two things to improve your life, it would be to exercise and drink water.
How To Eat Your Foods
This is the part where I tell you that your going to have to learn to cook. That's the bottom line, you will have to make your own meals. So I'm going to give you the two best options for learning how to start out. Soups, and Smoothies. Really simple stuff, one is cooked, while the other is raw. Overall, the more raw foods you can do the better. But everyone loves a warm meal, so that's where soups come in.
Smoothies: There is no excuse for not being able to make smoothies. They are simple, fast, and delicious. If you don't have room in your kitchen for a blender, get rid of your microwave. Every Smoothie can be made with different mixtures of ingredients, I will categorize the ingredients and it is up to you to choose what to add. You must add at least one from each category.
Liquids: Coconut Water or juice for Smoothies. Cow, Almond, Rice, or Hazelnut Milk for Shakes. Be careful not to mix milk with citrus, for it will curdle.
Creamy Substances: Plain Yogurt, Avocado, Melon or Banana.
Fruit or Vegetables: Get creative. Mix fruit with vegetables. Add a handful of spinach to a pear and raw ginger. Try eating what is in season. If you are adding an orange then leave on the peel, that is where all the vitamins are. There is a multitude of things to choose from, mix it up as much as you can.
Proteins: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Hemp Hearts, Protein Powder, or just add whole nut such as cashews and pecans. Make it raw if you can.
Fiber: Depending on what you add, there could already be fiber in the mix. Such as any greens you add will have lots of fiber. But if you need to add something try bran, berries, or flax (Footnote 16)
By following this list, you will start you day with an intake of vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins, and probiotics.
Soups: There are a lot of things that are not soups, that I would dare to call soup. Same protocol here, I will list the different categories, and you choose what to mix
Broth: There are Cream based soups, Tomato base soups, or Broth (Veggie, mushroom, chicken, or beef are the most common) base soups. Choose one, stick with it. Add red wine to tomato based soups, and add white wine to cream or broth based soups.
Beans: If you are going to add beans, soak them over night. The biggest perk is that this is how to prepare beans so they don't make you gassy. The other perk is that when you add water to a seed, the growing process starts. So you are no longer eating a dormant seed, but a live plant. This is a process called sprouting (17).
Root Vegetables: Potatoes, Carrots, Leeks, or Beets. Root Veggies take the longest to break down. Add these to your soup first to let simmer the longest.
Sauteed Veggies: Certain foods taste much better sauteed then they do boiled. To add flavor to your soup by caramelized Onions and frying mushrooms in butter and garlic. Garlic burns easily, so add it at the very end.
Roasted Meats: Some foods taste amazing after being roasted. To make meat for a soup REALLY GOOD, use roasted chicken or beef. Or you can use ground meat such as turkey, just make sure to fry it in a pan before adding it to the soup.
Extra Veggies: At the very end of making your soup, add greens that cook quickly such as broccoli, spinach, or chives.
Grains: Rice, Barley, and other grains can be added for extra bulk.
I don't believe in following recipes. It's easy to learn the basics, and improvise. Like I said earlier, everyone has access to different items. Sometimes just opening your fridge and seeing what needs to be cooked before it goes bad is the best way to start.
If You Are Still Reading This, Some Things To Keep I Mind...
I know this seems like a lot of information, but I have only barely skimmed the surface of what nutrition is and how it works. I haven't even talked about the difference of acidic foods vs. alkaline foods. Or the dangers of GMOs, Aspartame, and the hormone they inject into livestock. The difference between good fats and bad fats. How by looking into the history of certain cultures you can understand what foods your body needs most to function properly. What types of vitamins are important to take, how to detox, and what kinds of exercises are helpful to maintaining a healthy body.
There really is so much to know, and I will try to get to it as I can. That's why this will be the first installation of my Nutritionalism series.
(05) Phases of Digestion