Nutrition is a big deal in our household. We’re always cooking up 3 course meals made with Whole Foods, taking apple cider vinegar shots, drinking kombucha, and if you ever come over to our house, you’re very likely to hear the phrase “I have low blood sugar!” get thrown around. This is why we’ve decided to write this blog, 10 Nutrition Habits To Live A Healthier Life! 10 nutrition habits that are super easy to incorporate into your life! Read the whole blog!
Nutrition Habit 1: No Fake Food
The food industry is sneaky and deceptive. We are constantly bombarded by false messages and lies. Your body can only get proper energy from real food. When you give it chemicals, food dyes, and preservatives it has to expend tremendous amounts of energy on clearing all these toxins from your body and leaves you with very little energy to spend on things that matter to you.
Not only that, but eating fake foods plays havoc on your hormones and without your hormones functioning properly it’s impossible to lose weight or feel great.
Other health risks from eating fake foods include cancer, hyper activity, allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, thyroid disruption, headaches, dizziness, stomach ache, asthma attacks, inhibit proper functioning of digestive enzymes, accelerated aging, and heart disease.
Here is a list of some of the chemicals and additives that are being sneaked into your food that you want to avoid, many of which have already been banned in other countries.
I understand it’s confusing to choose between chicken and beef or sweet potatoes and russet potatoes, but the choice between something that you can trace to a seed or a mom and something that was created in a lab is easy.
Nutrition Habit 2: Don’t Starve Yourself
Learn the difference between hunger and appetite. If you are truly hungry, you will eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli. Appetite is what sounds good. For instance, “Oh, I feel like a delicious turkey club sandwich.” That’s appetite. Versus, “I’m starving. I just paddled for two hours and haven’t eaten all morning. I hope my kids left me 2 pieces of bacon to eat.” The beauty is when these two merge.
Also, don’t assume that you can go the whole day and just not eat (at least not yet). Will power only lasts so long and we’d rather not have to rely on mind over matter, especially when we are truly hungry. At some point during the day you will have to eat and it’s better to think ahead and have the right choices ready so you don’t have to reach for the wrong foods.
You literally are what you eat so don’t you think you should have a good relationship with your food? Not that I’m telling you to go out and eat a large pizza every night, but just stop worrying about calories and start thinking of your food in terms of nutrients and the energy it supplies you (in essence how it effects your blood sugar).
As you start developing a healthier relationship with food, make it just that, a healthier relationship. No more overeating, no more guilt, no more restriction.
Redefine for yourself and your family what a normal diet is.
When you skip a meal your body releases cortisol which causes your liver to release glycogen which then increases your blood sugar which causes your pancreas to pump out insulin. Likewise, when you overeat carbs you are increasing your blood sugar and causing an insulin release, eventually if you continue this pattern your overworked pancreas will eventually not be able to produce enough insulin and that’s how metabolic syndrome (also known as Syndrome X) begins.
Another thing that happens when you skip meals is that your body increases the production of fat storing lipogenic enzymes. This is especially true for women.
Even if you don’t know what lipogenic means or enzymes are, I think we can all agree we don’t want more of anything with the words “fat storing” in them.
Nutrition Habit 3: Stop counting calories
If you feel like you need to restrict your calories to lose weight I encourage you to trust me on this one (or go do more research). All calories are not created equal and we are not concerned with how many calories you are eating. The most important part of being able to lose weight and feel great is having your hormones work for you. Food is one factor in affecting your hormone response, but so is stress, movement, and sleep. When you can dial in all four of these things together, your hormones will help you be lean, strong, and energetic.
Nutrition Habit 4: Limit Your Sugar
Limit your overall sugar. This includes fruit. Fruit is a lot of sugar and for now we are trying to get harmony in the digestive system so we want to lower the total amount of sugar going in.
If you are having trouble limiting your fruit intake, try eating a square of dark chocolate (not the whole bar) that has 70% cacao or more and doesn’t contain soy.
Only drink water, organic coffee and teas, and limit your alcohol consumption to 1 drink per day.
Try to drink your coffee black or you can bulletproof it.
Nutrtion Habit 5: Eat More Well Sourced Protein
This one is the key to not craving sugar and alcohol. If you fill yourself up on healthy protein and fats, your sugar cravings will decrease substantially. If you still feel cravings after integrating this habit, then it’s time to look at your adrenal function and overall stress level.
SOURCE makes all the difference on this one.
Where did your meat come from? How was it raised? How many steps were taken to get it from it’s original form to your mouth?
There is a big difference in sitting down to a “commercially raised” burger with beef from a cow that was sitting in a feed lot standing in mud and poo, one piece of iceberg lettuce, and a slice of tomato versus a whole colander full of greens with a quarter pound (or even a half pound) of grass fed beef. We love to top our patties with organic peanut butter and sauerkraut (sounds gross, but it tastes amazing).
If you are living a playful life, I highly recommend eating more grass fed beef. It has so many benefits and the information you’ve probably heard about red meat being bad is mostly due to the sourcing. If you need more proof, watch the documentary Food, Inc and do further research. If you choose to be vegan, make sure you are getting enough protein and aren’t replacing protein with processed carbs.
I am a huge believer in blood type diet and if you are a Type O, beef is like gold for your body. Finding a farmer to get your grass fed beef from is one of the best things you can do if you are a type O blood type. If you don’t want that much beef then eat more well sourced fatty fish, but limit your chicken and portk.
Personally, being a Type A, I don’t need quite as much beef, but I still try to have it a few times a week in small amounts, especially if I’m playing with a lot of intensity because the creatine in the beef helps my recovery. Type B’s don’t do well with chicken. With a lot of our clients, this is the first thing we change in their diets and it makes a huge difference. Type AB’s are the enigma and do well on seafood, tofu, dairy, beans and grains.
If you find yourself hungry often, or worse … hangry, then start eating more protein. It doesn’t have to be beef either. Chicken, fish, pork, turkey, bison, etc — it’s all good as long as the sourcing is good.
Your food should give you energy. If you eat and feel sleepy or gassy, you are either eating poor quality food, have disbiosis that we will work on in another week, or food allergies. Start with the food quality. If it’s from a good source, you will notice.
Also, don’t get caught in the organic trap. Organic doesn’t always mean it was pasture raised or free range. Try to find local farmers that you can buy your meat from or shop at farmers markets as much as possible. While on the road this is a lot harder for us and we use Trader Joes to fill in the gap.
Try to prepare your protein ahead of time. If you wait until you (or your family) are starving, it will be hard to make the right choice. I always have a freezer full of protein options, some form of protein defrosting in the fridge, and usually something in the crock pot cooking every day or else grass fed ground beef ready to be thrown in a pot and cooked up in ten minutes.
This week, I recommend you also try to up your quantity of protein. I find if you just eat more protein than you think you should be eating, it does some amazing things for your body.
Nutrtion Habit 6: Eat More Healthy Fats
Fat is vital for health, energy, and proper hormone function.
You’ve probably heard all the hype around getting more Omega 3 and less Omega 6 in your diet. Omega 3 is known to improve heart health, lower inflammation, regulate cholesterol triglyceride levels, improve cognitive skills, and improve digestion. Some of the best food sources for Omega 3 include white fish, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, krill oil, sardines, ground flaxseeds, grass fed beef, walnuts, chia, and egg yolks.
In addition to Omega 3, you also want to increase your consumption of oleic acid (Omega 9). It is known to lower your chances of developing type 2 Diabetes because it helps with insulin sensitivity and improve blood circulation. It is also known to lower depression and has an anti-cancer effect. Good sources include olives, olive oil, grass fed butter, and avocados.
Source is everything. What that animal ate matters. Try to find pollution free, sustainable fish sources, free range eggs, grass fed beef and butter, wild game, and lard from pastured pigs.
Worried about cholesterol? We need cholesterol in our diet. Cholesterol is a precursor to building hormones. Just as eating fat doesn’t necessarily mean your will store more fat, eating a high cholesterol diet doesn’t mean you will have high cholesterol. Not convinced? Then I encourage you to do more research and you will find that the real enemy here is sugar. Sugar is the main culprit behind creating an inflammatory response that causes us to build up plaque in our blood vessels.
Start adding a little more fat to your meals and see the benefits that a moderate to high fat diet can have on your waistline and energy level.
Here are ways to integrate fat. You should be eating one source of fat at every meal.
- Eat free range eggs (the darker the yolk the better)
- Top your eggs or meat with avocado
- Cook with coconut oil
- Sprinkle your greek yogurt with walnuts (1/4 cup or more is ok)
- Sprinkle your salad with pine nuts, slivered almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds
- Make your own trail mix to snack on from RAW nuts and minimal dried fruit
- Add a few slices of raw or grass fed cheese to your meals
- Eat olives and cheese as an appetizer before your dinner
- Make refried beans from your bacon fat
- Eat well sourced nitrate free bacon
- Grass Fed Beef
- Wild Caught Salmon
- Eat chicken thighs instead of breast (the fat is good for you)
- Snack on spoonfuls of nut butters (especially before bed)
- Add grass fed butter (Kerry gold is good) to your sourdough toast
- Make a curry with full fat coconut milk
- Bake with grapeseed oil
- Use high quality (very green) olive oil on your salad
- Snack on a few pieces of salami
Nutrition Habit 7: Add Veggies To Each Meal
I tell clients to aim for 10 servings of veggies each day, 5 of which should be greens.
This one is a no-brainer! You know you should eat more veggies, but it’s just so hard to integrate them into your every day life. I’m going to help you with just that.
My kids love vegetables (seriously, they fight over brussel sprouts), but it took time. It really came down to a few key factors in nudging them in the right direction though. First, we don’t have snacks to fill up on. Second, I starve them occasionally. Not for the whole day or anything abusive like that haha but I try to let them feel hunger every so often (it helps if we are doing something fun like climbing or hiking and they are distracted). Being truly hungry helps shift your body to want to eat anything, including broccoli and hummus or green beans. Third, we make them taste good and eat them in a wide variety of ways.
Most days involve some form of salad (and this is often our go to for lunches). Everyone pitches in to make our huge salads and we include a lot of different veggies, as well as nuts, cheeses, and good sourced protein in our salads (check out the video). Dice the veggies small to make them taste better and try to not use store bought salad dressings. One of our favorite things to do is go olive oil and vinegar tasting and I try to let the kids pick their favorite combo so that they are more likely to eat their salad (right now we have blood orange olive oil and pineapple balsamic vinegar–yummy!).
For dinners, I cook veggies such as squashes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, etc . If you are trying to eat grain free, make sure dinners have a big serving of rice or potatoes and add variety. White rice and russet potatoes are fine occasionally, but also serve brown and black rice, quinoa, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. The point of this eating plan is to put an abundance of whole ingredients into your body and never cut calories. Instead of telling your kids not to eat carbs, offer them more good tasting protein and veggies and let them eat them to their hearts content.
You can also try adding greens to your smoothies, add spinach with your eggs, mix in kale with your ground beef. For the most part, try to have a handful of greens with every meal.
Nutrition Habit 8: Drink Greens Juice
We are huge fans of juicing! It is one of the most important aspects of looking and feeling good for us. Juicing is “instant gratification” to you digestive system. Your body doesn’t have to work to break down the food and absorb the nutrients. Instead, all those power packed vitamins are readily available to go straight to your cells to detoxify and restore your body. But what about fiber? Isn’t it better to blend your veggies so you get the fiber also? Fiber has it’s time and place in your diet, but once you feel how much energy you get and how great your skin looks from juicing you will probably agree that juicing should also be a part of your daily routine.
Our typical greens juice ingredients:
- 1 colander full of Kale or Spinach
- 4 stalks of celery
- 3 carrots
- 1 small beet or 1/2 of a large
- 1 green apple
- 1/2 lemon
- thumb size piece of ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
Other great foods to juice include:
- swiss chard
- cilantro or parsley
Since the micronutrients of the juice do go straight into your bloodstream there are a couple rules we follow to make sure we don’t feel the side effects of a rapid blood sugar spike.
Nutrition Habit 9: Eat More Probiotic Foods
Eating probiotic foods on a daily basis will do wonders to help heal or prevent disbiosis. Disbiosis can wreak havoc on your hormones, energy level, and overall health which is why this habit is so important.
Probiotic rich foods include plain unflavored yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha tea. If you do the yogurt or kefir then try to find a raw or unpasteurized brand.
Personally I try to keep sauerkraut stocked in my fridge and take bites of it throughout the day to help keep my gut flora at healthy levels.
I also drink a Kombucha Tea most days. I find it gives me a little energy boost when I’m dragging around 3 p.m. and satiates my sweet tooth. Or, try making your own Kombucha.
Bone broth is especially good at healing leaky gut. Kettle + Fire sells a really good bone broth soups. Add a cup of soup to one of your meals each day.
Nutrtion Habit 10: Eat Better Sourced Grains
Grains get a bad wrap. They can be a wonderful source of energy and provide you important macronutriets that your body needs. The problem is they can take longer to prepare or are harder to fine than their less-nutrient, more-processed versions.
If you eat bread, try switching to sourdough. The fermentation process makes sourdough easier to digest. Try reaching for organic and non-GMO versions too.
Do you need to go Grain Free?
That depends on a lot of factors. First, are you doing all the other 8 habits? I find that if I’m consistently juicing, eating five to ten servings of veggies, intaking probiotic foods, eating a free range protein source at each meal, and eating more fibrous beans, I really don’t have much room for grains in my diet and the little bit of sprouted rice or organic sourdough I’m consuming really doesn’t matter.
Now, if you have any inflammatory diseases (or symptoms of inflammation) then you should consider eliminating all grains (Wheat, Rye, Barley, Corn, Oats, Sorghum, Rice) to give your body a chance to eliminate all possible grain allergens. This would also include cornstarch, potato flour, tapioca starch, and rice flour (most of which are found in gluten-free recipes so read your labels).
The idea when you go grain free is that now your diet should only consist of vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, and beans.
There is plenty of research out there to support why grains are linked to obesity and weight gain. In addition, grains are often the cause of acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, dysbiosis, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, hypothyroidism, inverted cortisol, anxiety, depression, asthma, food allergies, and hormone imbalances.
When in doubt, it can’t hurt to experiment with going grain free for a week and see how you feel.
Bonus Habit: Sleep
You can eat a perfect diet, but if you aren’t sleeping you won’t lose weight, feel good, be able to lose weight, or have the energy you need to chase your dreams. If sleep, or any of the habits I just covered, is an issue, join Project Life where I give you all the tools you need to feel amazing each day.
- 7 Cheap and Easy Tips To Improve Your Adrenal Health
- 21 Quick, Easy + Healthy Dinner Recipes
- 39 Awesome Tricks For Manifesting Your Badass Self