Today I hope to help you with nutrition. Of all of the studies, books, and articles I’ve read over the years, Michael Pollan is my favorite on the topic. Our view on nutrition at RxFIT, namely what it should look like and in what quantity and quality, comes from his book “In Defense of Food.”
When an individual starts working with one of our nutritionists for the first time, we customize their plan based off of their goals. Although every plan is unique, each one always includes the following prescription:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
If you stop reading now, write that down and begin implementation. Nutrition, above everything else inside the fitness industry, has become too complicated and confusing.
The ugly truth is that at some point in the 1900’s, we started trusting food scientists and food businesses to tell us what to eat instead of doing what our ancestors did for thousands of years. As a result, we’ve become less healthy and more disease-prone.
We also began to develop “Orthorexia” as a population, which is simply when people begin to have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. It’s fascinating to me because no country cares more about the science of their food than we do – yet, we top the charts for being (possibly) the most unhealthy.
To beat a dead horse, we need to keep fitness (especially nutrition) simple.
Eat Real Food
At some point in recent history, we stopped looking at food as food and started looking at food as “nutrients.” We broke food down into two nutrients: “macronutrients” and “micronutrients.” Then we started testing which nutrients caused cancer and then vilified entire food groups because it contained that nutrient.
For example, Food Scientists told us to stop eating butter because of the “fat” and replace it with a made up substance called margarine. Whoops, we know that isn’t sound advice anymore.
In addition, we started to trust food businesses to cook our food for us and deliver it through “Drive-thrus” or microwave packages. We also know where that has led us today.
The issue here is that food science seems to go back at the end of every decade and correct what they got wrong. They are constantly testing and disapproving old notions. Additionally, food businesses are competing in a $32-Billion Industry.
All of this is to simply deliver the message that eating real food is sound advice. Eating food-like substances is not. In other words, if people were eating it 200 years ago, it’s healthy.
Not Too Much
Last year old the old RxFIT podcast, I interviewed a metabolic scientist about a few current fad diets (Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Vegan, and Macros). At one point during our conversation, I asked him his take on meat – on if we’re eating too much of it right now. His response:
Yes. We are eating too much meat. But we are eating too much of everything else as well.
I found that fascinating. My takeaway was that we’ve been fighting over the wrong question for the past few decades. The question shouldn’t be whether or not we eat meat, or if we should have a high carb vs low carb diet. The culprit is portion control.
This seems to ring true for everyone in the nutrition industry (both scientists and businesses). Everyone agrees, regardless of their views, that we are simply eating too much. In general, three meals a day keeps the diseases away.
With portion control being mentioned, the only thing that we aren’t eating enough of is vegetables. Again, trust the century’s of human life as evidence: “The greener and leafier you can make your plate, the better.” Regardless of who you are or where you live, vegetables will always make you healthier.
I’m not advocating for a meatless diet – in fact, I love meat. I had steak for dinner last night and for breakfast this morning. But I have found that if you put the plants on your plate before the mashed potatoes and steak, the healthier you become.
I cut out all of the fluff in today’s episode. If you want to live a healthy life, stick to this nutrition prescription: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Your body (and your health) will thank you for it.