At Revive, we’re not dieticians but we do know a thing or two about how to make the most of your body through your diet. Here we aim to give you our top tips on how to eat to make yourself feel great and give yourself the best chance of achieving your health and fitness goals.
The first thing to know is that you can’t out-train a bad diet. Like it or not, your health, body fat and weight is mostly linked to what goes into your mouth. Exercise is a key part of the jigsaw and delivers countless other benefits but there’s no getting away from the fact that unless you put the right fuel into your body, you won’t get the right performance out.
Food Writer Michael Pollan recently summed up what our approach to food should be in just seven words.
“Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much”
Among the copious amount of nutritional advice that’s out there at the moment, this is a refreshingly simple and an easy mantra to live by.
And here at Revive, this is just the advice we give to our clients. But what exactly does it mean?
The first two words are most important. “Eat Food”. This means eat real food – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and meat – and avoid what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”
Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.
Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Stay out of the middle of the supermarket – Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions, eg. honey, but as a rule, things like Cheezels and rice crackers that never go bad just aren’t food!
“Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that stop you eating before you are full. In German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.’ If you eat until you’re stuffed, you’re merely adding in calories that your body doesn’t need and probably won’t use.”
At Revive, we truly believe that food can make you feel really, really good. We’re talking energised, alert, slim, fit and young. It can make your skin glow and your hair shine. But food can make you feel really bad too. If you eat the wrong types of food, you’ll feel bloated, fat, tired and grumpy.
Every time you eat, think about how the food that’s going in is going to serve you. If it’s clean, healthy, wholesome food then it’s going to do positive things to your body. If it’s processed, convenience stuff that comes out of a box then your body isn’t going to thank you for it.
Beware of Sugar
Sugar makes you fat. It converts to fat quicker than fat itself because it raises your insulin levels, which causes fat storage, especially around your middle. Sugar also leaches vitamins from your body and a body starved of vitamins will get hungry more easily. And sugar is everywhere!
Not only is sugar found in the most obvious places – cakes, biscuits, chocolate, etc, but loads of processed and diet foods that claim to be low in fat, have simply had the fat replaced by sugar, which will be converted to fat in the body anyway. So when it comes to sugar, there’s only one answer and that’s to stay away from it wherever you can.
Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat
Fat is not the enemy – that means the good fats found in raw nuts, avocados, seeds, oily fish and oils of course – not the bad fat that’s in bacon, pastry and fried food! . We should try and eat good, clean fats every day. They have been shown to reduce sugar cravings, lift energy levels and help you feel fuller.
A Little Bit of Protein Goes a Long Way
Our Western diets tend to backload protein to the end of the day – think about that great big steak or chicken fillet you have just before you go to bed. While the protein source is fine, the timing isn’t so great.
To get the most out of your body, you need to spread your protein intake across the day. So try and have a little with every meal. Consider eggs or smoked salmon for breakfast, tuna or turkey for lunch, chicken or red meat for dinner and yogurt with nuts as snacks between meals.
Are Carbohydrates Really the Enemy?
People have become very confused about carbohydrates – should they eat them or shouldn’t they? Our advice is this, rather than stressing about how much carbohydrate you eat, think about the type of carbohydrates you’re eating instead. It’s way more important to eat carbohydrates from healthy foods than to follow a strict diet limiting or counting the amount of carbohydrates you consume.
Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy and used to support bodily functions and physical activity.
The healthiest sources of carbohydrates come from unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. Choose these first because they promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fibre and a bunch of important phytonutrients too.
Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, fizzy drinks, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that get in the way of weight loss and can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
A Few Ideas For Adding Healthy Carbohydrates to Your Diet
Start the day with whole grains. Try a hot cereal like good old fashioned oats (not the instant stuff out of a packet) or a good quality, low sugar muesli. LSA (linseed, sunflower seed and almond meal blend) is an excellent protein source to sprinkle on the top.
Look beyond the bread aisle. Whole wheat bread is often made with finely ground flour and bread products can be very high in salt. Instead of bread, try eating wholegrains in salads made from brown rice or quinoa.
Choose whole fruit instead of juice. An orange has two times as much fibre and half as much sugar as 350mls of orange juice so it makes sense to have the fruit not the juice.
Pass on potatoes, bring on the beans. Rather than fill up on potatoes – which have been found to promote weight gain – choose beans for an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates. Beans and other legumes such as chickpeas also provide a healthy dose of protein.
If you’re training with Revive, we’re here to help you achieve your overall health goals and that’s not just exercise. If you’d like to discuss your diet in more detail or want more tips and recipes, give us a call and check regularly for links and updates on our website.