Where do I start?
Eighty percent of body composition is determined by diet, so it’s important to adjust your food intake and macronutrient (protein, fat, carbs) ratios to your activity level and fitness goals. Try to eliminate your consumption of processed and fast foods, and replace with nutrient-dense foods such as grass-fed beef, liver, bone broth, pastured eggs and wild salmon.
Adjust your carb intake to 50-100 grams for fat loss, 100-150 for weight maintenance, and more for heavy exercisers. When choosing carbohydrates, opt for nutrient-dense plant-based carbohydrates such as kale, spinach, sea vegetables, blueberries and nuts over processed grains such as bread and pasta. For very active individuals and children, feel free to include starchy root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, or celery root.
When evaluating foods on their nutrient density, it is also vital to consider their bio availability—in other words, what nutrients your body can actually absorb. For instance cooking carrots either by steaming, sauteing, or roasting, will increase your body's ability to convert precursors to vitamin A. Then add a bit of fat (think butter or coconut oil) and you will obtain even more of this crucial vitamin!
Fats have been demonized for the last 50 years, so it’s easy to forget that they provide benefits such as energy, building healthy cells (and brains), helping the body use fat soluble vitamins, and making hormones. In addition, enjoy fat for its satiating and hunger-suppressing properties. Replace Omega 6-heavy vegetable oils with healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and fats derived from pastured animal sources.
Exercise is just as important as diet to your health—you can’t become physically fit through diet alone! Walk as often as you can and perform weight bearing exercises 2-3 times a week. Add yoga for balance, flexibility, and stress reduction. Although I enjoy going to the gym, I find gardening a great all-around activity. I get great exercise, my own organically grown vegetables, a healthy dose of Vitamin D, stress relief, and exposure to “good” bacteria for my immune health!
One last thought—I realize that navigating through all the health information available can be confusing and often times contradictory, so take care to evaluate each one based on scientific research, keeping in mind that correlation does not equate to causation. Give your body a chance to adjust to any changes before making conclusions, then evaluate your health based on how you are feeling, along with a thorough review by your physician. Healthy habits take time to establish, so be patient and good things will follow!