Just for a moment, erase every notion of you have about food. Erase the low-fat-low-carb-eat-less-exercise-more dogma you’ve been programmed to believe. Now, imagine you have an avocado in one hand and a wheat cracker in the other. With a blank slate and common sense, which would be more nourishing to your body?
Imagine again. This time, a whole, farm-fresh egg in one hand and a carton of egg beaters in the other. Read both of their ingredient levels. Exactly – the single egg doesn’t have an ingredient label. That’s because the ingredient simply “eggs.” But take a look at the laundry list of chemical ingredients in the “egg beaters.” Which option would actually help you achieve optimal health?
The scary correlation between processed foods and health
For several decades, we have been fed a large plate of diet dogma. But ask yourself: Where has it gotten us? We are more overweight and obese as a nation than we ever have been. Even worse, heart disease, cancer and diabetes were attributed to over 1.2 million deaths in 2015.
So, perhaps it’s time we put down the foods made in a factory plant, especially since it’s National Nutrition Month. Let’s choose foods made from actual plants or even a food that eats a plant-based diet. It’s these whole, unprocessed foods that benefit your cells the most. As you’ll find out, your cells are important.
Achieving optimal health through proper nutrient proportions
The average body is made up of about 30 trillion cells. That’s not including the 40 billion other bacteria that reside in your body that keep you healthy. It’s up to you to feed these cells and bacteria. When you feed your cells correctly, you’ll help regenerate new, healthy cells, repair old, damaged cells and create balance within existing cells. Ultimately, when your cells don’t function properly, you don’t function properly.
When we dissect our cells’ structure, we find that each cell breakdowns into water, fats, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. By matching the makeup of our most basic structures with our diet, research has found that we can achieve optimal health. And it all begins with a healthy balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
To begin to find that balance within, I recommend the following ratios:
50 to 60 percent of daily calories from healthy sources of fat.
60 percent of our brain is made up of fat. Even our first food, breastmilk, is 60 percent fat. We need to make sure that we feed ourselves and our cells with good quality fats such as avocados, coconut oil, coconut milk, clarified ghee, butter and olive oil. Think of it like this: Like a car needs oil, our bodies need fats. Without oil, the car will simply run poorly and eventually give out. The same goes with your cells (and you, if you’re not careful).
Furthermore, fats are essential for hunger to subside and are required for hormone production. Fats also tell your body, “It’s okay to let go of stored body fat because ample good fats are coming in.”
Next, 15 to 20 percent of your calories should come from healthy protein.
Healthy protein choices include chicken, fish, steaks, full-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and other meats like wild game and seafood. Please note that I did not mention protein bars. Animal protein from grass-fed, organic or wild caught sources are best, but vegans and vegetarians can also get adequate protein if they are proactive about food combining.
When it comes to cellular function, protein delivers amino acids to cells. Essential amino acids are only found in protein. They cannot be produced in the body, which means it’s up to you to supply them! Amino acids supply the brain with the key neurotransmitters responsible for calmness and pleasure. Therefore, reducing anxiety and mood swings. Next to water, amino acids from protein are our greatest asset when it comes to sound nutrition.
20 to 30 percent from healthy carbohydrates.
Healthy carbs are not found in a bag or box from a factory. They’re found in plant-based sources, also known as fruits and vegetables. Vegetables of any kind should be your main source of carbohydrates. Root vegetables contain good starches that are important to consume in place of breads, cereals, crackers, chips and other grains and grain-containing foods.
Research has found that grains contain anti-nutrients, which prevent the body from absorbing essential vitamins and minerals. In actuality, many people who are overweight are malnourished due to their over consumption of grains. They’re constantly hungry because they bodies cannot absorb the vitamins and minerals that keep hunger at bay.
This National Nutrition month, remember that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. In the end, counting calories will only make you stressed and hungry. Plus, when you go on a diet, you’ll eventually go off it again. So, step back, erase the diet dogma and trust your intuition when choosing foods. Your refocus on real foods from plants or plant-eating animals will supply your body with ample nutrients.
Need help adopting a more optimal, nutritious lifestyle? In addition to serving as Juvo Board’s Master Trainer, I’m also a Certified Nutrition Coach and Certified Food Psychology Coach. For over 10 years, I’ve helped clients all over the world experience better health and happiness with customized and personalized one-on-one consults and coaching. To learn more, visit my website.