Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you should eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while portion control does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it. 

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy.

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

This is what you should aim for every single day:

  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough Protein; making sure you get all of those essential amino acids to build muscle, skin, hair and nails (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential”, you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads. 

Use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink. Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite. Ideally, we should be chewing every bite 30 times! I know, I know it ain’t happening but at least notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture of your food and slow down the speed.

This signals your digestive system to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Here’s a good example of my 7-year-old who loves SAMOSAS. They are an occasional treat in our house so when they come she goes a little crazzzy! Last night she had a full dinner and 1 gigantic potato samosa. That was a very big meal for her. After finishing she asked for another samosa, I gave her my reasoning for why that was not a good idea and that her tummy was already full. She insisted that she was ‘very’ hungry and had another gigantic samosa. I hour later she was holding her tummy complaining that it was hurting and was feeling nauseous ?!

What happened here is what happens to many of us, we overeat in one shot and by the time the brain tells us the tummy is full it’s too late! Resulting in the digestive system being overexerted, feeling stuffed and an energy crash!

Another option is ‘drinking your food’

Yes, Smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

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