Master The Basics

Who hasn’t attempted a total 360 in lifestyle changes, only to have it all come crashing down? All too often we take a giant leap in a new direction when we should be taking baby steps. Let’s talk about food in particular. We’re always ‘starting fresh’ on Monday, and flailing by Friday. I’m starting a detox! I’m never eating carbs again! It’s broccoli and chicken breasts for dinner, no more pizza! I’m converting to raw veganism! I’m going 100% strict Paleo.
Whatever the case is, we’ve all been there. The truth is, eating healthy is so simple! But we over complicate it by following some strict, glorified, unsustainable plan, because that’s what we think is necessary to be ‘healthy’. Count your calories, balance your macros, time your meals precisely, fast in the morning. I don’t know about you, but having to track exact portion sizes and plugging in my food intake to some fancy program, is a lot of work. And it’s not something I want to spend my time doing! I could go on a tangent about calories, but I’ll leave it at this: calories do not take into consideration the quality of food and what impact it has on your body. 100 calories of broccoli does not equal 100 calories of french fries! Calories only tell part of the story.

I’m all about eating whole foods. I’m not going to lie, I definitely have a bias towards a diet based on vegetables, animal protein, and healthy fats. I believe it’s wise to minimize grain consumption, but that’s not what I want you to focus on right now. If you’re currently eating a typical North American processed diet, I highly advise you not to follow any kind of plan. What I would recommend is starting with small steps to build a foundation onto which you can play around and advance in your food choices. But without the fundamentals, you will most likely never succeed in getting through a week of a structured eating plan. If you work on replacing one meal at a time with healthier options, and creating small, realistic goals for yourself, that’s where success is found. Learn to make delicious and creative salads, discover alternatives to sugar laden breakfast foods, think outside the box of frozen burritos 😉

Let’s define processed for a moment, because many people think they’re eating whole foods but they’re really not. Bread is processed, pasta is processed, rice cakes are processed, chips are obviously processed, jam is processed, granola bars are processed. Marketing is very tricky, they often say “from whole foods’ on the package. The operative word being “from”. Because believe me, the final product is not whole.

Anyway, the main take away point is don’t be in a rush to overhaul everything at once. Don’t attempt a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, organic diet all at once! Make a plan that you can achieve with confidence. Start by replacing one unhealthy food with a healthier one, and slowly build your foundation. However I will say that there are some things in which I’d encourage you to stop cold turkey: things like pop, margarine, and Spam 🙂 The more you eat real food, the easier it is to eat real food. And when you do choose to eat something less healthy, the easier it will be to see how it doesn’t serve you.

“Excellence is achieved through the mastery of FUNDAMENTALS”
-Vince Lombardi

I believe everyone can achieve dietary excellence. But you must lay the groundwork first, and build your way up.

Happy Eats everyone!