19 Mar 2012
My Health Formula – #1 Diet
I’m a certified personal trainer here in Canada and have been in the health and wellness industry for over a decade now. I’m 47 years old and can outperform most men half my age. I’m not a big guy at 5’8” and 158lbs. I’m lean and solid with excellent cardio vascular conditioning. I like to maintain a well-balanced athletic body and being healthy is more important to me than how I look in the mirror at the gym.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how I coach my clients on diet etc. so I thought I would start Just a friendly post with what I do. This is not a debate on what’s right and what’s wrong but simply how I coach and get results with my clients. I’m not a body builder trainer so if you’re planning on competing you need to find a coach who has that experience. I train athletes, weight management and general conditioning. I train functionally with a lot of metabolic conditioning and interval training. I’m a big fan of eating well, exercising according to your goals, getting lots of sleep, managing your stress levels, and taking a high quality nutritional supplement.
That being said I’m going to start with my basic diet philosophy. I believe in eating clean, real food. What does that mean to me? Well if it’s blue and comes in a plastic tube it’s not food. Diet is a good 80% of the health equation.
I eat as real as I can but sometimes you give in and eat the processed shit. Life is too short to be paranoid freaks about it all but do your best most of the time. I also fill in the gaps with shakes and bars from USANA Health Sciences but only when I can’t get to unprocessed foods. There is a lot of bad advice out there so be careful who you listen to. Find someone with a balanced professional approach to getting you to your goals.
Ok. FOOD. Clean, Real Food. Fruits, Vegetables, Seeds, Nuts, Lean proteins and water are the basics.
Clean – Avoid processed food with flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, chemical preservative, colorants and a whole list of unrecognizable ingredients. I do eat organic when I can but sometimes that’s just not possible and who knows if the organics industry is truly regulated. Kind of a grey area for me.
Fruits – If eat by themselves without extra fiber, protein or essential fats should be have a low or moderate glycemic index rating and load. This is to keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing. Google Glycemic Index of foods. If you’re combining fruits with yogurt, rolled or steel cut oats, in a high fiber salad etc. not as much of a concern. Most fruits are moderately rated except for watermelon and some others.
Vegetables – Eat lots and a wide variety. Raw, lightly steamed, roasted is best. Try not to overcook you vegetables. Season them rather than use saturated fats and if you must add butter use real butter unsalted and a small amount. Using a small amount of essential fats such as flax seed oil or grape seed oil to make a lite seasoned dressing is a better idea than butter. Add seeds to your vegetables just before serving. Raw, unsalted sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower……gives you a little extra crunch and necessary fiber.
Lean proteins – I’m not a vegetarian but I do limit the amount of meat I eat. Mostly because of what’s in it these days. I watched Food Inc., big mistake. I buy certified grass fed organic meats whenever possible and buy from local farmers that I can visit the farms and get an idea of how they raise the animal. Other great sources of proteins are out there. Eat a variety of beans, legumes, tofu, organic plain yogurt (add your own fruit or flavor to it), quinoa, spirulina, soy beans etc. Careful of too much fish as it can be loaded with chemicals and heavy metals.
I add seeds and nuts to salads, vegetable dishes, morning oatmeal etc. to increase fiber, essential fats and protein. Eating them on their own can be a great healthy snack as well. Careful of the calories if weight loss in your goal.
I drink purified water out of glass, stainless steel or safe plastic only. How much really depends on what you do in a day and what your environment is. A good starting point is 6 – 8, 8oz glasses a day or 1.5 litres. Drink throughout the day and a little more pre and post workout. If you’re going to drink during your workout, sip water consistently for the duration of the workout. I’m not a big fan of juice unless it pure juice and not from concentrate. I also recommend watering it down and only in small amounts if you can’t give it up entirely. Herbal teas are ok, preferably naturally caffeine free. I confess I still have a cup of coffee in the morning. I even put a little cream and agave syrup in it. Absolutely no soda pop, not diet, not regular and not even if it says “zero” on the label.
That is the basics of my diet coaching for my clients. Of course every case is different in some way or another but I start with this and go from there depending on lifestyle, health challenges and fitness goals.
I’ll post about exercise next.
I hope you find this helpful.