The easiest way to visualize, shop for, and eat food is to separate it into the three macro-nutrient categories: fats, carbs, proteins, and a bonus category, supplements.
Go with mostly unsaturated fats, some saturated, never any trans fats. To successfully avoid trans fats, look for anything containing hydrogenated oils, like margarine and other fake food.
Oils. Really only extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, as these two oils are vastly superior to any other oil.
Butter, preferably from grass fed pasture raised cows, as it contains the most nutrients.
Any type of nut or nut butters (cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts etc.), and seeds (like chia), but be sure to watch the salt content.
Tip: Low fat does not always mean better! Most times something advertised as low fat is high in sugar.
Carbs should be complex, keep simple sugars at a minimum.
For grains go with oats, whole wheat (if you can tolerate it), barley, quinoa, millet, spelt, etc.
Vegetables (full color spectrum). Spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
Fruits, including some dried fruit (full color spectrum). Apples, bananas, dates, figs, grapes, etc.
Tip: Simple sugars cause rapid blood sugar spikes, and then crashes. You can mitigate this by going with complex carbs, as they take longer to break down and enter the bloodstream.
Go with mostly lean proteins, some red meat and fattier meats are okay.
Chicken and turkey are staples and are fairly lean.
Beef, bison, pork are high in fat and should not be your main source of protein, but added in every once in a while.
Tip: Buying and cooking in bulk can save you a ton of time and money.
Dairy items such as milk and milk products contain lots of fat and sugar. It’s best to go with skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
What to target:
Milk, yogurt, Kefir, and cottage cheese (skim or low-fat variety).
Grass-fed Butter (see above)
Protein powders (see below)
Supplements are optional, but can help you with diet deficiencies.
What to look for:
Whey protein (a “fast digesting” protein) powder, casein protein powder (a “slow digesting” protein), egg protein powder.
Vegetarians and Vegans: Soy protein powder, Hemp protein powder, or some other vegan protein powder (Vega makes a couple good ones).
Caffeine – coffee, tea, pills, or pre-workout.
Creatine – Good for those heavy into weights.
Probiotics – You can get these by eating plenty of fermented foods, but a supplement can’t hurt. Start with a probiotic with a lower CFU (Colony Forming Units) count at first, and work your way up. I’ve used this one here with good results.
Fish oil, or Omega-3 supplement – since most people are deficient in Omega-3 intake. I prefer cod liver oil, like this here. Most fish oils contain very little EPA and DHA (what you actually want when supplementing fish oil), so do your homework and get one with optimal levels.
Tip: try to get all of your vitamins, minerals, and protein from food sources, and then supplement if you have deficiencies.
Warning: consult a physician before making any dietary changes, including taking supplements and/or starting a new exercise program.
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