Fat is GOOD! Yes there, I said it, fat is good, seriously, no joke. Truth #2 about fat, you don’t get fat from eating fat you get fat from eating junkfood. Truth #3 as with everything else, must be eaten in moderation. No more than 20-30% of your daily food intake should come from fat. Our bodies need fat for brain function, cell development and insulation among other vital functions . Fat, when consumed in foods such as butter, milk, yogurt, cheese and olive oil slows down digestion leaving your body feeling full longer causing you to each less. Low-fat or fat free alternatives do not, are generally less satisfying and ultimately result in you consuming more in order to feel satisfied.
Whether plant, fish, fowl or cow… Protein is the name of the game. A serving of protein should be no more than 10-15% of your daily caloric intake or 3-5 oz which visually speaking, is a portion size no bigger or thicker than the palm of your hand. However good Morton’s may be, no one has a palm the size of a 12oz porter house. Protein is vital to our immune system, collagen formation, tissue repair and preserving lean muscle mass. Most Americans are not protein deficient. Whenever possible opt for grass fed or pasture fed beef, free range chickens and wild caught fish. This type of protein is lower in antibiotics and hormones, is leaner and leads a more sustainable environmentally sound existence.
Carbs are not your enemy. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and consist of sugars, starches and fiber. Be smart about the sugar you consume, opt for whole foods such as fruits or vegetables and if your sweet tooth gets the better of you try sweeteners like maple sugar, honey or brown rice syrup. When selecting your starches choose nutrient dense items such as quinoa, brown rice or sprouted bread. Limit white flour or products made with white flour as all the nutritional benefits have been stripped out and what you don’t burn gets stored as fat. Last but definitely not least, Fiber. Fiber is not digested or absorbed by the body, but instead is used to keep our digestive track healthy by forming and eliminating waste from the body. Fiber supports your efforts in reducing the risk of colon cancer, high cholesterol, maintaining a healthy body weight and controlling blood sugar. Eat lots of dark leafy greens like spinach, kale or broccoli. These veggies give you a two for one punch as they are high in nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamin C. Good carbohydrates should be 50-60% of your daily caloric intake or take up at least two thirds of your plate at each meal.
Food is one of life’s true pleasures, eating a healthy well balanced diet doesn’t have to mean sacrifice but it does mean making subtle adjustments over time to fit your lifestyle. By choosing nutrient dense foods and reasonable portion size there is no reason not to enjoy the foods you love.