Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to give a Nutrition Talk to a wonderful group of ladies, from the Wounded Warrior Caregivers Retreat. We talked about a few key ways to figure out the confusion around Healthy Eating (which I will be sharing with you soon), as well as answer some of their questions. It got me thinking about all the questions I receive, from family, friends, and clients, about how to eat healthy. Instead of answering them separately, I thought it would make more sense to put them together. That way you get all your questions answered, as well as have a reference to come back to.
Here are the top questions I receive, with my take on them. You might be surprised by a few of the answers 😉
Is it ok to eat meat? What is the healthiest type of meat and how should I cook it?
Even though I don’t eat meat, I don’t forbid it from others. Diets change any everyone has their own needs. However, I do think that cutting back is ideal for most people. Meat should be more or a side dish than the main event of most meals and dishes.
If you do eat meat, opt for organic wherever possible. This way you know the animal were raised with organic feed, didn’t receive hormones or pesticides, and treated more humanely. If possible, also shoot for locally raised. For seafood, use the sustainability guide to determine what the best choices are.
If organic meat is too expensive, there are a few things to consider. Go local and you might find a better price. If it is still to expensive, try cutting back and eating a few non-meat meals throughout the week. You’ll find a little more variety in your dishes, as well as a lower bill. The biggest thing to consider though is your health benefits – organic is healthier, which means you might pay more now, but less in the long run as far as medical costs go 😉
Are there any healthy options for fast food or eating on-the-go?
Yes! Even though is far better to make your own food, there are options for eating on the go.
First, try the salad or “hot bar” at your local (healthy) grocery store. You’ll find plenty of healthy eating options at these. You can also look in the produce section for fresh, cold-pressed juices at most grocery stores, which means that you can get plenty of servings of fruits and veggies.
You can also look for healthier, less-processed options at a few fast food places. Places (like Panera, Moe’s Chipotle,Chick-fil-a etc) are starting to make better choices as far as the quality of their products. Look for places that use grass-fed beef, organic chicken, organic tofu, and plenty of fresh vegetable options.
What foods provide an energy boost, instead of caffeine?
If you need an energy boost, leave the coffee alone and go for fresh juice or smoothies. Nutrient dense foods, found in juices and smoothies, will help keep you more satisfied. Blended juices and smoothies are easier to digest than a piece of fruit or salad, so they absorb into your blood stream faster and energize you sooner. If you need a little extra, try a handful or nuts.
If you do need a little bit of caffeine, opt for a more subtle caffeine boost from Green Tea or Yerba Mate/ Both of these provide a little bit of caffeine, without the huge crash after.
How can I make healthy eating fun for my family?
Make it fun! If you are trying to get your little ones on board, make it an adventure. Show them how excited you are to try new things and let them know exactly what is happening – you are on an adventure to seek out new, fun alternatives to their regular stuff. Let them know you aren’t taking anything away, just trying fun options.
If your kids are older, have them help you pick out a few items they want to try that are healthier. If they are involved, and don’t feel forced, they are more likely to try new things. Same goes for your spouse 😉 The more you force the less your family will want to get on board. Just show them how awesome you feel and look, invite them to participate, and involve without pushing.
What are some diets that are good for losing weight (especially for women) – beyond simply eating “right”?
Truthfully – none. No diet is going to get you healthy or help you lose weight for good. Cleanses and detoxes are meant to recharge your system and possibly cleanse away specific toxins, as well as teach you a few healthy habits to use after they end. Diets are ways to lose weight in a short amount of time, but lead to weight gain (sometimes more than you lost). Instead of dieting, it’s better
One thing specifically for women is to make sure you eat enough food throughout the day. Many women are so busy during the day that they forget to eat. Or they grab a few snacks when they can, like crackers, cookies, and sweets. Then they eat a large meal at the end of the day to because they are s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g. Sound familiar? If you do this, try to pack a few healthy snacks (carrot sticks, apples, whole grain crackers, nuts, juice, smoothie, etc) to take with you on the go. Eat breakfast before you head out the door and make a point to take a break from the stress of the day to eat lunch. The break from stress, as well as the actual eating, will help you stabilize your weight.
How many calories a day should I eat? How do I know what serving size I should eat?
Ah, the calories question. I hear this one all the time and have even found myself pondering if I was eating too many or perhaps not enough. Truthfully, calories are not all that you need to focus on when trying to lose weight, but they can be a starting point or even a key to helping you figure out why you are gaining weight.
Each person is very different, so instead of focusing on calories, focus on hunger. If you are hungry, eat more food! If you find you are consistently hungry, look at what you are eating each day. If most of it is processed, you will probably burn through it fast, maybe not getting all the nutrients you need. This will cause you to get hungry, even though you have had all the calories you need. Shoot for whole foods – think the outer aisles of the grocery store – to make up the majority of your foods. There is a fantastic example of this in the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead 2, available on Netflix. This will help you figure out your portions and serving sizes as well.
**If you are training intensely, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you’ll need more calories than you might think. If you don’t get enough, you’ll either be starving most of the day, or might actually gain weight from kicking your body into “starvation” mode, where you hold onto any calorie that you do eat. If you aren’t sure if you are eating enough, you can always try tracking them on myfitnesspal.com – but I only recommend this to give you an idea of what you eat, not to limit yourself or to cause stress, because that will also cause weight gain 😉
Is fasting a good idea?
Straight up fasting (not for religious or cultural purposes) is not a great idea. Eating absolutely nothing for days on end will definitely give your body time to shed some excess weight, but it will also kick it into full-on starvation mode, causing you to hold onto everything you eat once you do again start eating. And honestly, you don’t learn much from not eating anything, besides what it feels like to be starving.
This is where a Detox or Cleanse comes into play. Instead of fasting completely, you can consume juices, smoothies and fresh produce to give your body a break, but still nourish it while you do so. If you are looking for an option, start with my book, Detox 101.
What is your biggest questions about healthy eating or which one of these is your usual hang up? Leave it in the comments below.
Peace and Love,