Nutrition 101: foundations I wish I always knew

Habits to Healthy Blog Post 5

We have all heard the saying, “sitting is the new smoking,” but is the standard American diet the new smoking too?

Why yes, yes it is.

A majority of Americans are eating a standard American diet high in refined carbohydrates, inflammatory oils, and pre-packed processed foods which lead to metabolic syndrome. In simpler terms, it’s a never ending blood sugar roller coaster causing damage to just about every organ system. We want our blood sugar ride to be a smooth one with a few bumps, not a terrifying roller coaster that you see at a theme park.

Do you snack between meals? Do you have coworkers that munch on things throughout the day? Spoiler alert… snacking between meals causes MORE ups and downs on this blood sugar roller coaster.

“But I get hungry between meals… what am I supposed to do?”

Eat BALANCED meals. It’s the roller coaster plunge that cause hangry moments in your daily routine. I used to be known as the Hangry Queen until I learned more about nutrition and gut health.

Food and nutrition is a science and again, bio-individuality matters. A general rule of thumb is for each meal to have FOUR components to make it complete:

1) Vegetables
The most important component that most Americans skimp out on. Veggies are packed full of phytonutrients which does wonders to our body. It also contains fiber to help keep our gut healthy and happy. Eat the rainbow because gut health is EVERYTHING. I try to aim for 2-3 cups per meal or at least 50% of my plate.

2) Protein
Meals should contain some type of protein. Whether you’re vegan, keto, Whole30, AIP, etc… protein contains amino acids, building blocks that our body needs on the daily. I try to aim for 25% of my plate.

3) Carbohydrates
Refined carbs have been processed to remove fiber and along goes the nutrients. It’s best to limit or replace these pastas, bread, pastries, cereals, anything with flour, wheat, etc. Whole food sources contain the most nutrients: root veggies like sweet potato, starchy veggies like beets, beans, legumes, fruit, etc. I try to aim for 10-25% of my plate.

4) Fat
The forgotten component. To minimize the blood sugar roller coaster plunges, meals must contain protein AND fat. Healthy fat sources are olives, coconut, avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, etc.

Some people may need more protein and others may need more carbs. It just depends on you BUT remember that complete meals include a majority of VEGETABLES (greens, fiber, the rainbow) AND healthy fat.

Have you tried eating a more balanced plate? Does your plate contain all 4 components?

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