Tag Archives: how to eat

A “Whole” New Approach Diet Plan

pearsNo guilt, but if you’re looking for a diet plan, here’s a basic outline for one. You can start it any day of the year. Any hour of each new day. You can take off for your birthday and start the day after. Just eat this way nearly daily, always coming back to it after a day or two or month off, for the rest of your life, and you’ve got a good, successful, healthy diet plan. Tweak it how you want, although keep true to the whole, real food “bones” of the plan.

Health is important. Eating right is important. But most importantly, YOU are important. Eating is a tool to make YOU the BEST YOU! I would be so happy if you started seeing it that way! Please, if you have any questions on what I mean when I write, do ask!

Ready? Let’s go! (Click this link for printable PDF version: Whole New Approach Diet Plan)

The Goal: Take it down to 100% whole, real food that hasn’t been processed.

This is what you’re shooting for here: Pretend you had farms, orchards, and fishing boats all over the world. The food you’re about to buy or cook with should be something you could have grown, picked, gathered, pressed, squeezed or butchered from the abundance of your farm, orchard, or from waterways you travel.

Yes, it’s a real challenge in today’s world to eat this way! You may not need to do this forever to reach your health goals. Or maybe you will need to do this forever to maintain your health goals. But for right now focus on today! Plan for tomorrow.

Loosen up as your waistline and/or health goals allow. Loosen up when it becomes too cumbersome. But keep this as your goal, your vision, your “perfect” plan, so you don’t stray back to eating fast food or too many boxed foods.

Maybe you’ll make exceptions to making your own peanut butter or almond milk. I get it! But I do challenge you to try to eat completely unprocessed foods for a set length of time you determine. It is a real eye-opener!

Yes! You can eat any fresh, unpackaged fruit or vegetable.

Eat them how you want. Raw. Steamed. Poached. Baked. Boiled. They’re on the table. If you have an upset stomach from eating them, pay attention to which ones! Eat less of those. Try them prepared a different way. Or eat another kind.

Some people don’t tolerate certain fruits and vegetables well, but there is PLENTY to choose from! Look up something called “FODMAPS” and see if you can sort out which foods might be causing you abdominal distress. BUT don’t go too crazy with it! It’s your body, and the FODMAP tables are only guidelines.

Yes! You can eat any fresh meat that has not been processed.

Meats that are canned with nothing added can be used occasionally, like canned tuna or salmon. Bacon and cold cut meats are convenient but require caution because they are usually processed with added chemicals or fillers .

Sad face: No refined flours at all.

None. No exceptions. Read labels. Most whole grain products are made with refined flour also.

Another sad face: The goal is no added “sugar” of any kind to the food you buy.

No sugar. No honey. No maple syrup. No dextrose. And definitely no high fructose corn syrup. Buy food items without sweetener, and then, if it tastes “yucky,” sweeten it yourself just to the lowest sweetness you can tolerate. You can control “sugar” (or honey or maple syrup) this way. It’s a difficult rule. You may find yourself making some exceptions, but don’t make many.

No artificial colors added.

I can think of NO reason an artificial color is needed. Many children, especially, are sensitive to food dyes. All food dyes do is muck up the body and brain with no benefit to nutrition. Eliminate them.

No preservatives.

Like eliminating sugar, this is a tough rule. But it’s still important to not allow too many exceptions. Preservatives alter the VITAL gut bacteria that our bodies DEPEND on for health. I cannot stress enough how we must protect our gut bacteria to protect us from all disease states.

No more than 3-5 ingredients that you understand and have access to yourself should be listed in the ingredients for the product.

Do you understand maltodextrin? Or soy protein isolate? Don’t buy that stuff.

Oils and fats should be ones you could make right there on that farm or orchard we talked about at the beginning of the post! Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or butter are oils and fats you could make!

This is a huge, very important topic! Processed oils like Canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oil as they are purchased in the supermarket are faulty oils that place a large stress on the body. Liquid oils should have the date they were squeezed from the food they came from (called the pressed date) on them, and they should be simply pressed—not extracted under high heat and processed with deodorizers.

Solid fats should be solid naturally, like butter and coconut oil are. Margarine, Crisco, and hydrogenated fats are liquid fats that have been chemically processed to be solid. Do NOT eat them if you can help it.

Watch for food sensitivities, and be aware that gluten and dairy have lots of pesky proteins which make them top health offenders.

After eliminating processed foods, it’s time to explore if there are sensitivities. Common problematic foods include: eggs, nuts and seeds, grains, dairy, legumes, shellfish. But any food can cause symptoms. Anything you swallow can have side effects, and each person is different.

Closing

Do I eat this way?  It is my gold-standard, but I adapt it differently as life changes and puts me in different stages. This is the eater I’d like to be! But I do not feel guilt when life dictates that I must deviate!

Guilt is just a part of us screaming (or whispering) because it wants us to do the right thing. Guilt doesn’t make us healthy. In about four minutes, my four-year old will wake up and come find me on the computer here, trying to write this post. Guilt will tell me to stop writing now and be a good mother. Guilt will also tell me I’ll never be a writer because I don’t make time for it. My guilt is simply trying to help me do the right thing to find balance in my life. 

I don’t want you to have guilt about your eating. I just want you to do the right thing for your health, your body, and your mind. Usually, the path for that will be clear and you’ll stick to homemade soups and salads and yummy, crunchy nuts day in and day out! But then, there will be moments where eating unhealthy is the healthiest thing to do in that moment for you, like at your birthday or Christmas. Paradoxes like this make life a fun art!

Best wishes for a pattern of LIFELONG real, whole eating! I really want you to succeed in health and vitality in 2019 and onward! I would like for you to feel good and paint, sew, write, sing, or garden. I would like you to travel with your grandkids, bike with your friends, or climb up on the tractor for another season of harvest.

The world needs more real, whole, healthy people–inside and out! Eating is a tool to make you the best you. Are you eating that way?

Terri F

Nutrition for a Gymnast

Ten Nutrients Every Gymnast Needs and How to Get Them

Recently a college gymnastics coach asked me if I knew one of the best in-practice (or in-meet) pick-me-up foods. I made a few naïve, idealistic stabs. “Nope,” he grinned. “Fruit Loops.” I didn’t know whether to cry at my innocence or to promptly squeeze his grin between my right thumb and forefinger, giving him a verbal lashing and the full weight of my academic condescension. I was so frustrated!

Faulty Nutrition Advice

I’m disappointed in the common gymnastics nutrition advice I encounter. It’s worthy of censorship. I don’t want anyone to touch my daughter’s nutrition without her running it by me first. Often the advice encourages exceptionally high carbohydrate counts and very low fat intakes. (How are they ever to absorb the vitamin D and vitamin K2 they need for their bones as grandmas?) Other times it advocates for highly processed cereals and granola bars loaded with sugars. (What nutritional punch does sugar pack?)

What’s a mom to do? Well, I like the gymnast in our family to focus on the nutrients her body needs to make strong bones, to keep muscle cramping to a minimum, and to protect her head in case of a bad fall. We focus on real, whole, and deeply nutritious foods. Focusing on these foods also encourages her immune system to fight off colds, helps keeps her tendons and ligaments well-supplied, and allows her hormonal system to have a chance to function properly.

Doesn’t She Need Carbohydrates?

As far as macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) go, I ask her to try figure out the best carbohydrate to protein to fat ratio for herself– using her hunger, energy, and mental clarity and focus to help guide her. (I firmly believe that each athlete is an individual with unique macronutrient needs. It is not “one-diet-fits-all.”) I explain that carbohydrate foods, although fast-acting, will not stick around very long, but that fats and proteins digest more slowly and can help her feel full longer. She includes carbohydrates for their quick pay-off of energy, and then she plays with the fat and protein amounts to determine the amounts (and kinds) which keep her feeling full– but still energetic and light and springy on her feet (or hands).

Reality Checks and Hard Talks

Food never goes away and our relationship with it really colors our whole life! So, periodically we talk about eating disorders, and I’ll ask her how she’s feeling about what we’re eating. We have talked in the past about the weight of muscle mass versus fat mass (muscle weighs more) and how weight is not a good indicator of health, fitness, or gymnastics capabilities. We talk about avoiding junk food but how to let loose and enjoy them comfortably when we want to.

Since competitive gymnasts often want to stay “little,” we talk about the changing body and the fact that a female gymnast’s skills will ebb and flow, progress and flop, as the physical body changes– and that will just require her to train smarter (to understand the physics of strength, power, vertical jump advantage, and quickness) and show off what a woman can do!

Competitive gymnastics has been suppressing the growth of competitive gymnasts for a long time, and I want none of that garbage for my precious one. I want her to embrace fully what it feels like to be an empowered woman, never afraid of food or eating–or actually of anything or anyone. I want bold, confident, and intelligent-minded women who will leave their sports behind one day but transfer everything they learned into a new path.

Back to Nutrition

Okay. Back to nutrition. I made a chart for our fridge that I thought I’d share on-line here. It’s the table you see above as the image for this post. You can, I hope, pull up the PDF file for clear printing here:

Blog Gymnastics table

Addendum: I have updated the same table you see as the image to read “Ten Nutrients Athletes Can’t Be Without… And How to Eat Them!” That way it can also be printed off for non-gymnast athletes too. For the PDF to this version, click here:

Ten Nutrients Athletes Can’t Be Without and How to Eat Them

I could have added iron, vitamin B12, and folate to this list. But if the foods on this list are eaten, those nutrients are each covered too. Meat has iron and vitamin B12. Beans and green vegetables have folate.

Many experts do recommend supplementing with calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids for gymnasts. Talk to your doctor about that. Since we don’t eat a lot of dairy in our house due to some intolerances, I do rotate through bone supplements for the kids. But please, I prefer that you talk with your doctor about that. I am here to share our story and my thoughts, but you should not use it blindly as medical advice. Instead, use it to further your own research and discussions with your doctor. I love comments and would be happy to hear what you do for your gymnasts, concerns you have about gymnastics nutrition, or constructive discussion on what I have written and composed here in this post. Thanks!

Please, help your gymnast find his or her way to strength, dignity, courage, and long-lasting belief in his or her amazing self-worth as a person, not just an athlete.

Warmest wishes,

Terri F

Eat Like A Vegetarian In The Garden of Eden

This morning I’ve been reading on butyrate again, trying to put together the next post about probiotics and generating butyrate (which may still be a long way off, darn it).

Butyrate is generated by your gut bacteria for YOU to use in your own body.  It supports your gastrointestinal health and “a million” other things (diabetes and cancer, to mention a couple small problems).  It comes from your gut bacteria munching on the vegetables and fruits you eat.  (It can also be made from whole grains, such as oats.)  My go-to foods for butyrate production are leftover potatoes (baked potatoes, steamed potatoes, fried potatoes, you name it) and green bananas.

Foods rich in something called “FOSs” feed those butyrate machines too:  onions, garlic, and asparagus.  (And as much as I like garlic and onion powder, you need to go for the REAL onion and the real garlic to get butyrate).  We use no less than one onion a day in our home.  And I can’t even count how many cloves of garlic.

Well, this morning while butyrate-reading, I came across:

Butyrate, neuroepigenetics and the gut microbiome: Can a high fiber diet improve brain health?

Basically, it was explaining how butyrate may affect brain function.  It was fascinating.  I LOVE it when personal experience is validated with the science I read.  I never want to misinform and lead people down the wrong path, even if it applies to eating better.  (Because the battle a person has to fight now today to “eat right and real,” is a real battle.)

When I changed the way I ate a few or so years back, I noticed a dramatic improvement in moping days (as in they decreased in number).  Even now, when I eat too much sugar or grains or processed oils, my moping days like to come back.  Being a tiger for protecting my brain, I get back to eating as real as I can and how I know is best for me.

I was trying to think about how best to describe to people how I think we should eat.  From my varied reading, there is a huge allowable variation for human health.

But basically, I guess I’d sum it up as:

Eat like a vegetarian who is back in the Garden of Eden.  Round it out with the most connected- with-nature animal products you can find when you want them.  (If you don’t, no problem.  Just make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need in the place they’re lacking.)

What do you think of this thought?  Does this capture the idea?  Does this keep us focused on the food rather than the cholesterol, fat, and sugar content?  Does this take away the significance of labels and names?  Because that’s what it comes down to for MOST (not all, there will ALWAYS be exceptions—speak, Elijah) of us.  Eat it whole, baby.

Check out the article if you like science and you ever get moping funks.  Nah, I’ll bet none of you ever do that.  And remember, after you get it down to real food, you may need to make further tweaks to help with individual things like weight loss, headaches, irritable bowel, and so on.

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