All Your Nutrition Questions... ANSWERED!
I'm not sure exactly when I stopped. It was very very hard for me at first. But like most things the longer I have kept at it, the easier it has become. Oh! No, I'm not talking about gluten or carbs or anything like that, Silly. I'm talking about slapping nutritional knowledge bombs on poor unsuspecting souls talking about their latest "diet wins" or favorite new "healthy recipe that tastes amazing I swear." Can you and I just go ahead and agree that Cauliflower Pizza Crust tastes like pizza farts? I don’t care how hard you are trying to convince yourself that it’s just. like. the. real. thing.
When I first completed my intensive studies in Functional Nutrition with the Holistic Nutrition Lab, I felt compelled to educate the world! If you asked me a question about nutrition, you better be ready to sit down and listen.... For a long time. It took me quite some time to realize that this method was not actually helpful at all, and these days I simply don't insert knowledge where it is not specifically requested. I get a lot of the same questions from people- in line at the grocery store, in emails, on social media, even at Christmas parties. And what I realize is that people reallllllllly want to "be good". So, I'm going to help you. I'm going to give you the REAL answers to all your nutrition questions, that aren't even really the answers to your questions.
A-ha! Yes. The crux of the matter is that many of the questions can be lumped together because they are all so wrong that it doesn't even matter what the question was in the first place. The very QUESTION is wrong. The answer is so much simpler than the question actually!
So, are you ready for Nutritional Clarity?
Magical, Mysterious, Enchantingly Exotic Superfoods
Questions You Might Ask: What’s the best way to eat kale? How much MCT oil should I add to my diet? What do you think about matcha, goji berries, green tea, almond milk, hemp hearts, flax seeds, chia, bone broth or some other healthy sounding food?
Answer: What do I think about these magical, mysteriously enchanted foods? I think they’re great. That is, I think they are great if you like them and they work into your day. The reality is that you should eat the amount of them that is palatable and reasonable for you, but certainly not in exclusion of other foods that are equally wonderful. Why doesn’t anyone write articles about carrots? Is it not as exotic as matcha or acai? Carrots are great for you! MCT? Yep. Good for you! But so is olive oil, avocado, olives, grass fed butter, and plenty of other fats. Not one of these current celebrity foods is really any more “betterer” than plenty of other foods that are whole, natural, and of the highest quality you can afford. In truth, if you are still eating any processed foods- soda, cereal, GoGurt, etc- there is no amount of hemp hearts that can save you from that shit. Spend your energy eliminating those things instead.
Smoothies, Juicing and Meal Replacement Drinks
Questions You Might Ask: What do you think of juicing? How can I make my smoothie healthier? Should I drink (insert popular meal replacement) instead of eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner? What’s the best thing to juice?
Answer: Are you a human… a human who has all their teeth, doesn’t have their jaw wired shut, isn’t experiencing wasting syndrome, or isn’t close to 105 yrs old? You are? GREAT! Then please just chew your food. Please. You have these amazing things called teeth for a reason. Chewing is actually the first step in the digestive process, and it’s an important one! Chewing is directly connected with the movement of food through your digestive tract, and, in particular, with the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine. Yet, the contribution of chewing to good digestion does not even stop there. The process of chewing also activates signaling messages to the rest of the gastrointestinal system that trigger it to begin the entire digestive process. Additionally, research has shown how chewing, as well as the activation of taste receptors in the mouth, can prompt the nervous system to relay information to the gastrointestinal system to optimize the process of digestion. Your “juice” or smoothie can be jam packed full of every “healthy” thing on the planet but without the chewing, it’s a moot point. And that’s not to mention that you can jam pack it full of a whole lotta calories that slide right down your gullet before you ever even get full and satisfied. Take that time you used juicing 87 carrots, to just eat a couple. Some fresh strawberries with a handful of cashews will fill you up more and provide more nutrients than your magical 500 calorie smoothie. There. I release you from the pressure to post a selfie with your magical beverage.
How Often to Eat and Food Timing
Questions: Should I eat before my workout? After my workout? If I skip breakfast won’t I get fat? Shouldn’t I eat every three hours to keep my metabolism burning? If I can’t eat lunch, should I just eat a protein bar? Which one?
Answer: You don’t need to eat as much or as often as you think. You likely (unless you are struggling with an eating disorder) are eating too much and your body would be just fine eating less… and less often. True hunger, which you probably haven’t felt in quite some time, sets into motion a whole hormonal cascade that is important. The first sensation that you perceive as hunger and sends you to the snack machine is really just a little notification to your brain that it’s likely time to start considering the procurement of food, something that took quite a bit more time in the past AND which wasn’t necessarily always satisfied. You cannot get fat by not eating. I’m sorry. You can’t. You actually CAN workout without pre- and post-workout fuel, and you often should unless you have some sort of very specific goal related to exercise or performance. I give you permission to skip or delay breakfast (especially if it’s some magical juice or a smoothie) and I release you from feeling like you ever have to try convince yourself that any kind of bar tasted good and “sure did fill you up.” If you can’t have some real food, just skip the meal. You’ll be fine. You’ll be better than fine, actually. Your body will get to DO WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO. That means it will tap into stored fat (you know, your “love handles”) and use it up. Whoa. Crazy.
Nutritionism, the breaking down of the science of food into minutiae, is awesome for scientific research. It can inform us and help us better understand how it all works. These scientific factoids, however, often confuse the bigger picture for the average person. Nourishing your body is simple when you know the right questions.
Does this food serve my body and honor my lifestyle?
Am I eating with a sense of enjoyment?
Am I really and truly hungry?
There are no magical foods with superpowers and if there are, they aren’t likely the ones you are focusing on, I promise. Happy Nourishment, Friends!