Shorter cigarettes in the health world basically means eating less bad things. I wish I could take credit for thinking of this comparison but I heard this idea from Jonathon Bailor. He's Mr. Analogy/Metaphor when it comes to taking complicated health stuff and comparing it so the average Joe can relate. Instead of eating a cheap hot dog on a white bun you opt for the nitrate free hot dog on the whole wheat bun. Instead of the Hidden Valley ranch dressing you choose Newman's low fat something. Instead of white rice with your stir fry, you use brown. Instead of old school mayo, you use a paleo mayo you find on Pinterest.
Personally we see so many take this approach to upgrading their food in our online groups. Here's the thing, making swaps for less "bad" things will only make you sick and fat...slower. In order to truly get healthy, the food you eat needs to heal your body. I often talk about 3 categories of food:
- Food that makes you sick, fat and leads to chronic disease and will eventually kill you. (Sugar and highly processed foods mainly, or the middle of the grocery store)
- Food that is neutral, it doesn't make you any healthier and in fact might be slightly bad for you but your body being as resilient as it is, can bounce back. (Protein, grains - even the healthy ones, starchy veggies, high sugar fruits, most dairy, beans)
- Food that heals you, promotes health, boosts your immune system and will help you get to an ideal weight. (I'll give examples below)
The million dollar question is: What foods fall into the 3 category and how much of them do I need to eat? This category is mainly non-starchy veggies. A few other things that I would throw in there would be anti-inflammatory fats like olive oil and coconut oil. Also foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats like chia seeds, flax seeds, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel that come from quality sources. I've held off mentioning fruit because a lot of times people can overdo the fruit thing. It's not unhealthy and if you eat a variety in the right amounts, it can be really good for you. Eating 5 bananas a day isn't going to help your health. Eating a banana, some blueberries and an apple will help most people. For more on my thoughts on Fruits and Veggies check out this post, "Eat Your Fruits and Veggies," Why That's Bad Advice.
Quantity... If you've followed us for any length of time you know that we aren't calorie counters. Our general rule of thumb is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This philosophy works incredibly well if you are eating a majority of your foods from Category 3 and some foods from Category 2 and minimal from Category 1. Basically what that would look like would be a plate that is comprised of 1/2-2/3 of things from Category 3, then the rest of your plate could be a protein source, chicken, steak or a vegetarian carb/protein source like beans or quinoa. Your veggies could be cooked in or topped with a healthy fat. It could be a salad with TONS of greens, topped with more veggies, then some nuts or seeds and some sort of protein source and a dressing made from healthy fats and vinegars or citrus.
It's really that simple, do that over and over and you will get healthier and lose weight. There isn't some magic pill or powder you need. It's whole food nutrition! It's not about eating less bad stuff, it's about eating more good stuff.
p.s. I realize that last line could be contradictory with our belief in Shakeology....please note that Shakeology IS whole food nutrition!! Shoot us an email if you want to know more about it!