Making a few minor changes to your eating habits can have profound effects, least of all in your energy levels. I liken the effects of a poor diet to that of walking around in a fog like state. Once you make some minor improvements, the fog lifts and you feel the warmth of the sun on your face…its a great feeling to have an abundance of energy. One of the things I really notice is the improvement in cognition, I feel more switched on and think more clearly. If you have a job that requires some degree of focus then here’s a couple of points to consider…
1. Improve the quality and quantity of your proteins
So what’s your starting point? I take the view that you should aim for 1g/lb of body weight. For me that sits around 175g per day. A 6oz chicken breast will provide around 25-30g so roughly 6 chicken breasts a day….that’s a LOT of protein and it will take some effort to achieve that on a daily basis. The good thing about protein is that it fills you up and keeps you fuller for longer so if you eat more protein then you’re likely to not eat many snacks in between meals and this is where the calories creep in. The quality of protein is important too, processed meats don’t tell you much about animal it came from? Was the animal raised in reasonable conditions? Taste and texture of well maintained animals will be reflected in the taste and sure it may cost a little bit more, but the better the fuel going in, the better your body is likely to respond, besides there are many tricks to getting good quality meats at discounted prices (I’ll follow this up on a separate blog!)
Its also good practice to rotate your protein sources, so for example having beef one day, fish the next, pork on a different day etc is a good practice to get into. I like to get a wide spectrum of aminos by having two separate sources of protein on the same plate as well, so a great idea is to have steak and eggs (If its good enough for Mr Strong…!)
2. Improve the quality of fats
As previously mentioned, Fats are essential for life, they massively improve cognition and help with a myriad of functions within the body. So how much? I go with 0.5g/lb of body weight, so for me its about 88g per day. Its essential that you opt for good quality fats, so nuts, cooking oils like olive oil/coconut oil, avocados and oily fish (also protein) should be a staple of your diet but keep a close eye on your intake because fats are roughly 9Kcals per gram.
One of the fundamental mistakes people make when they shift to a different eating plan is to restrict foods altogether. The brain is one step ahead always, so having a mindset of ‘I can’t eat this’ is already counter productive, because the brain will immediately respond to a situation of perceived famine which is never a good idea so inclusion of quality foods will naturally reduce the poorer quality ones. Its always good practice to think about what type of foods you are eating and ask yourself if you could improve things each time you consume food. So for example, having a ham sandwich can be improved by exchanging the deli meat for something more organic and replacing the bread with something more artisan instead, thus improving the quality of the sandwich altogether.
Hopefully this may have given you food for thought (pardon the pun!), I will expand on a few points in later blogs as I like to keep things short and concise.