Eat Like It Matters
There is so much information out there about what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, and the list goes on. I’m here to tell you that most of them are selling something or have ulterior motives. In most cases, there is a plan, book, coaching, or foods to sell.
I am selling Health and Happiness, and you should listen to me.
I have been eating for over 40 years, and I’m thinking I’m going to continue with it, at some level for the next 80 years or so.
So, where do you start? You know what’s coming; the Big question. No, not that question, you weirdo! It’s the other Big question…
What are your goals?
We all have different needs and goals, and there is no one, single way to eat for everyone. But, there is a great system to find out what works best for you.
Begin with a Journal.
I am a big believer in tracking not only what, when, and how much I consume, but also, how I feel, what I do for activity, goals tasks, gratitude, ideas, challenges, and solutions. All of these things are important and affect each other in some way.
Keep a journal with your goal in the forefront with specificity. Remember back to a time when you have felt your best. Maybe you can’t remember. In this case, you can imagine a time in the future of how you think you will feel your best! Get clear on your vision. How do you look? How do you live? How do you feel? Don’t concern yourself with writing the perfect thing or devising the perfect plan. Just start writing everything down and fine tune it over time. This is a process and things will change. Schedule time each day to reflect on, at the very least, what you have taken in, how much, when, and how you felt.
I find I have 2 go-to options when I am stressed or challenged and have time on my hands:
Number 1 is, I overeat.
Sometimes, it’s “healthy” choices of foods and sometimes, it’s not. Either way, the process of overeating is clearly not healthy. As I just mentioned I often found myself overeating good things, too. Neither option is good. I know I am not alone with this and it’s important for you to know this, too. You are not alone. Others may find the similar act with smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, etc.
The natural action of this is logical, in that you get a temporary dopamine (feel good) rush, as well as taking the blood flow and focus away from your brain and the challenge in front of you. This brings the blood flow and focus to the dopamine response, to the stomach, or away from the challenge. The frustrating part of this is that this type of response can often compound the stress and challenge that you are facing. It can also create an unhealthy feeling of shame.
Stop it! Shame turns into a downward spiral. Having self-control and then losing it is a natural thing. The processed foods and responding to stress with eating is in our DNA. Many years ago we didn’t know when we were going to be able to eat again (think hunting and gathering days). We need to choose our responses more consciously and not beat ourselves up when there is a slip up. Recover and move on.
Number 2 is exercise!
I feel that I come up with great solutions, solve problems, create momentum to have conversations that need to happen, and overcome challenges, because I feel invincible! The main reason why this happens is that when we exercise, we immediately begin to get more oxygen to our bodies and to our brains.
Our bodies require more oxygen to feed our muscles, due to the increased ATP turnover and for the blood to get rid of the waste and CO2 in our bodies. We are often working on limited abilities when we are breathing shallow or holding our breath. You can simply improve your ability to overcome adversity and challenges by doing some deep-breathing exercises. Deep-Breathing = More Oxygen To The Body And Brain = Clearer Thoughts And Better Choices. Build your confidence and ability with simple, deep breaths.
Okay, so…back to food.
Start with real food choices. Where is my food coming from? Start with what can you grow and raise on your own. Then, look to local farms and farmers markets.
Generally speaking, protein from free-range chicken and eggs, Grass-fed meat, and wild-caught meat and fish is going to be best. This is avoiding factory-farm harmed options. Knowing the environment that these animals are in is important. For Vegans and Vegetarians, it is possible to get great protein and amino acids from plants, but it is definitely more of a challenge. Beans, Quinoa, and legumes are a great start to high protein vegetables and grains. We also want to learn where it is coming from. Organic and Fresh is best. Other vegetables and fruits, as well as nuts and seeds are going to have great amino acid and protein diversity.
I recommend you create a list of all of the foods in these 4 categories that you like; Meat, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts & Seeds. Then, build combinations and meals.
Eating fresh, organic foods raw can be great. Remember, not all digestive tracts are created equal, so see how your palate and body respond. Our “gut,” or microbiomes (the bacteria in our stomachs) are changing constantly, depending on what foods we consume. A healthier gut helps us feel better, fight off sickness, stress, and disease, and improves our thinking and joy!
When it comes to cooking, grilling, smoking, baking, and broiling are the best options. When you select a fat or oil to cook with, look for a safe smoke point. If you cook with a fat beyond it’s smoke point, it is toxic for your body. How many of these fats have you tried cooking with? Pay attention to what heat you’re cooking up to and decide based on the fat’s smoke point.
Processed foods, a lot of sugars, dressings, and condiments create toxic environments for our digestive tracts, which creates toxicity within our bodies. This leads to stress, sickness, and disease, as well as a weak immune system, as our bodies can’t overcome the bad bacteria and germs that are naturally in all of us. That’s right, Germaphobes! We are full of bad bacteria and germs. With a healthy immune system, from healthy food choices, exercise, and a healthy mindset, we can overcome these bad, evil things in our systems. Try some of these healthy ways to make dressings! Make a clear plan to get your life and digestive tract in great shape, with high energy and an immune system that can overcome any health challenge.
Here is my go-to list for feeling my best, nutritionally. See what you like and what works best to implement in your life:
I feel best waking before 5:00 am. 4:17 am was my ideal, last year. Currently, I am a work in progress and getting back into this.
I like to start my day with 40 oz of clean drinking water, 1 squeeze of a half lemon (don’t put the rind in, unless its organic and rinsed), and 1 oz raw apple cider vinegar. This helps energize my body and flush out my system safely and cleanly, for an optimal energy, great day!
I drink water throughout the day, along with kombucha and tea.
I get some mindfulness and meditation, 5-30 minutes per day, depending on the day.
My Daily Schedule:
Do 45-60 minutes of running/biking, along with around 10-15 minutes of strength, balance, stretching, and mobility.
Start work at Duke’s Fitness Center.
Have 10 oz of coffee or tea, blended with MCT oil, grass-fed whey protein, grass-fed ghee or butter, and natural peanut butter.
Eat 2 free-range eggs, over-easy, 1 slice of uncured bacon, some sliced red pepper, and one of Mikey’s homemade, healthy muffins.
Either eat leftovers (6-8 oz meat with a vegetable or salad) or,
Have a grass-fed whey shake, with almond milk, spinach, carrots, banana, chia seeds, raw cacao, and blueberry and/or strawberry or,
Eat a Potentia Bar and/or Zing Bar or,
Eat an apple with natural peanut butter.
6:00-8:30 PM (depending on the day):
Eat meat and veggies, with avocado or nuts.
6:15-9:00 PM (depending on the work day):
Have a decompression workout and guitar time. This could be a variety of options, depending on what I am processing from the day. Typically, it’s 30-60 minutes of activity, followed by 10 minutes of stretching, reflection, and gratitude time. I aim for at least 10 minutes of guitar time, 5 days a week, but have been falling short of that recently. I do find, when I pick up the guitar or start a workout, I often end up doing much more than planned, because it feels that good.
Keep in mind that this is what I find ideal. That doesn’t mean it always happens, but I feel incredible on days that I succeed in getting this type of schedule.
*Evenings have the potential to turn into overfeeding time, without activity or with sub-par activity, if after overfeeding, I don’t take the time to decompress and get my mind in the right place. The middle of the day is filled with serving as many people as I can in health and wellness and spending time with my family, before the end of their day.
*I often add raw cheeses to my meals, but tend to be challenged with dairy in general, so I try to limit it. Flax seed tortilla chips are often a go-to for me, making nachos with leftover meat, veggies, salsa, avocado, and cheese.
*I love frying up mushrooms, peppers, onions, and garlic, and adding them to a meat dish.
*I like to add Kimchi and Sauerkraut to my meals, to add more prebiotics and probiotics into my diet. This is something I need to get more of, as I haven’t been consistent with it.
*Saturday afternoons and Sundays, if I have a nice meat that I have time to work with, I really like using our smoker. Michleen, my better half, does a majority of the cooking in the household and does an amazing job with healthy, fresh variety. But, I like to cook when I can.
Create your priorities with greater focus. Keeping a Journal brings clarity and shines light on places that we can improve in our lives. I know I need to try to get some family, friends, and social time on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. One of my main challenges is making sure I dedicate some time to fun and play, which often comes with spending time with my children.
Create YOUR best plan. Start tracking what you are putting into your body and how you feel about it. Eat like it matters, because You know it and You feel it.
Do you want more endurance and to feel better during a challenging activity? Try this homemade sports and recovery drink!
Nate’s Sports Drink Recipe:
Great for biking, hiking, & 30+ minutes of rigorous sporting events!
Mix together 16 oz of clean drinking water, 2 T raw apple cider vinegar, 3 raw, organic frozen cherries, 1 half lemon squeezed,1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt, and 2 T maple syrup.