So I definitely have solid views on nutrition, but I actually don’t vocalize them as much as you would think considering I rant and rave all the time about them here.
If someone asks me my opinion, I will tell them what I personally think.
Like yesterday, the volleyball girls asked me about post-exercise nutrition.
My answer? Eat a lean protein source and a simple carb. Those will be quickly absorbed by your body and used as fuel.
When asked what counted as a lean protein source or simple carb, I answered…
Turkey, chicken, whey protein, rice, potatoes, fruit.
Notice I didn’t say no gluten. Notice I didn’t say no protein bars. (Heck notice I didn’t even say, “Well honestly, I don’t even worry about pre and post workout nutrition…That is something that really only a top few elite competitors/athletes/bodybuilders need to worry about…That the most important thing truly is to eat a whole, natural food diet throughout the day and make sure you are eating when you are hungry!)
I simply listed things I believed are good – things that I would eat.
When asked specifically about bread or gluten or processed foods, I usually say, “Well I don’t believe in eating those things, but there are other people who do x, y and z and it works for them.”
I will almost always present the other side. (Except of course for here where I get to rant about the other side! YESSSS!)
Because it isn’t up to me what you choose. I can provide you with information about my reasons for my decisions, but I can’t tell you what is right.
Because it is a gamble. There are literally thousands of studies and people on both sides of the fat/gluten/carb/vegetarian fence.
Which side you decide to pick is ultimately up to you.
I’ve picked a side and am constantly doing research to make sure that I know WHY I make the decisions that I do.
Anyway, the reason I thought about all of this is because I’m writing up a “10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips” for this Heart Healthy Expo Jeff and I are going to tomorrow.
I was reading through a lot of the different heart-healthy tip things online and I couldn’t bring myself to provide people with recipes or tips that included canola oil and other such crap as healthy.
So below are the 10 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips I came up with. I managed to make the tips stay pretty darn mainstream WITHOUT going against my beliefs. I didn’t say not to eat whole grains…I just most definitely didn’t say to do it!!!
- Eat whole, natural foods and cut back on processed, pre-packaged food items. Processed foods are loaded with sugars and bad fats that cause inflammation.
- Use healthy fats such as olive oils, coconut oils and naturally-raised animal fats INSTEAD OF canola and soybean oils, which cause inflammation because they are loaded with omega-6s.
- Cut back on sugar and consume more complex carbohydrates especially fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our health.
- Cook more meals. No matter how healthy the restaurant meal supposedly is, it never measures up to a home-cooked meal. Even with our busy schedules and long workdays, we can fit in time to cook. It just takes some planning. Find meals, like casseroles and crockpot recipes, which allow you to make huge portions all at once so that you have leftovers for all those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
- Plan in some “me time.” Too much stress can negatively impact our health. It is important to take some time each day. This can mean going for a walk with friends, reading a book or anything that allows you to relax for even just 5 minutes at the end of your day.
- Get more sleep! Those who average five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a far higher incidence of “silent” heart disease. In a study done, 27% of those who slept five hours or less per night developed calcifications that can signal heart disease after five years, compared to just 6% of those who slept an average of seven hours or more.
- Do 30 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking, hiking, swimming, chasing after your kids on the playground) 2-3 times per week. Low intensity aerobic activity helps to strengthen our heart and burn fat.
- “Sprint” once a week. To sprint means to do short, intense activity once a week where you get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you go again. The intensity of your sprint will be dependent on your fitness level. A sprint should be between 8-20 seconds of intense work followed by a long period of rest (2 to 5 times the amount work).
- Lift weights! Too often we ignore weight training when it comes to heart health, but strength training is important! Resistance training has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure while improving cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. All of which result in a healthier heart! Add in weight training 2-3 times per week.
- Skip the two a days! More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better health. Overtraining can actually have negative effects on your health. Your workouts don’t need to be more than an hour especially if they are super intense. So don’t worry about how long you workout for – focus on your intensity!
NOTE: I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but I do believe that sometimes if you are too vocal upon first conversation with someone who you can actually get them to shut down and complete tune out all of the good stuff you are saying. Sometimes if you ease people into the unknown they are more accepting of the things you have to say!
This is the common reaction I get when people find out that I occasionally fast.
Sometimes I fast for 16 hours. Sometimes I fast for 24.
But either way…I’M NOT STARVING MYSELF!
Actually there are lots of good things associated with fasting, including looking super sexy!
I mean have you SEEN Leangains!?! Or the author of Eat Stop Eat, Brad Pilon?!?
I mean shoot! Do you really need any more reasons to try fasting than those pictures!?!
But if looking good isn’t enough, can I also say that I got stronger and WON a powerlifting competition while doing intermittent fasting?!?
Yep that’s right! I did intermittent fasting the couple of months before the competition and increased my maxes enough to win not only my weight class but also Overall Best Female Raw Lifter.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself!
Still not enough to convince you to try “starving yourself?”
How about all of these benefits of fasting, which include:
- Weight loss! Yes this is kind of the same thing as those guys looking good, but it is also the reason most people first go on a diet! For most people, fasting is actually easier to stick to than calorie restriction. Plus you preserve more lean muscle mass by fasting than through calorie restriction!
- Fight cancer!?! Yep fasting may actually help our bodies not only resist but also fight off cancer. More rats who fasted remained alive when injected with cancer – 16 of the rats who fasted survived while only 5 who didn’t survived. In a human study, patients also felt better when undergoing chemo if they fasted before and after. They suffered fewer side-effects when fasting than when they didn’t prior to chemo.
- Live longer. We’ve all heard that calorie restriction can help us live longer. Well if that is the case than fasting will make us live longer too! Of course, fasting doesn’t have the same “side-effects” that calorie restriction does. With fasting you will prevent the loss of lean muscle mass and bone mineral density. Sounds like two great benefits of fasting besides just a longevity!
- Brain health. Mark Mattson, Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program National Institute on Aging and a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, has released a number of papers that suggest fasting can induce neurogenesis and protect against brain injury and disease. There are also studies showing that fasting may reduce the trauma to the brain caused by stroke and may also help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Improved workouts. Ok I sort of already said this when I mentioned that I fasted to improve my performance for competition, but here are some studies to back it up! (Improved recovery and Leangains take on fasted training to just site a few!)
Here are some other great studies about the benefits of fasting that you should check out!