Today I hope to help you with nutrition. Of all of the studies, books, and articles I’ve read over the years, Michael Pollan is my favorite on the topic. Our view on nutrition at RxFIT, namely what it should look like and in what quantity and quality, comes from his book “In Defense of Food.”
When an individual starts working with one of our nutritionists for the first time at RxFIT, we customize their plan based off of their goals. Although every plan is unique, each one always includes the following prescription:
Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
If you stop reading now, write that down and begin implementation. Nutrition, above everything else inside the fitness industry, has become so complicated and confusing. For example, think for a moment of how many generations of people that have survived and thrived before the 20th Century. The ugly truth is that at some point in the 1900’s, we started trusting food scientists and food businesses to tell us what to eat instead of doing what our ancestors did for thousands of years. The result? We’ve become less healthy and considerably fatter.
At the end of the century, American doctor Steven Bratman coined the word, “Orthorexia” which means to say people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Is that not what has happened to us in America? No country cares more about the science of their food than we do – yet, many would agree that we are the most unhealthy.
To beat a dead horse, we need to keep fitness (especially nutrition) simple.
Eat Real Food
I referenced this yesterday, but at some point in recent history, we stopped looking at food as food and started looking at it as “nutrients.” We broke food down into two nutrients: “macronutrients” and “micronutrients.” Then we started testing which nutrients caused cancer and then vilified entire food groups because it contained that nutrient.
For example, Food Scientists told us to stop eating butter because of the “fat” and replace it with a made up substance called margarine. Whoops, we know that isn’t sound advice anymore.
In addition, we started to trust food businesses to cook our food for us and deliver it through “Drive-thrus” or pre-package it and sell it in a fridge at the grocery store (“TV dinners”).
The issue here is that food science seems to go back at the end of every decade and correct what they got wrong and food businesses are competing in a $32-Billion Industry. Take lessons from Great-Grandma and cook with food that grows. If people were eating it 100 years ago, it’s healthy.
Not Too Much
Last week on “The Faces of RxFIT” podcast, I interviewed a metabolic scientist about the current fad diets (Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Vegan, and Macros). At one point during our conversation, I asked him his take on meat – on if we’re eating too much of it right now. His response:
Yes. We are eating too much meat. But we are eating too much of everything else as well.
I found that simply fascinating. We’ve been fighting over the wrong question. The question shouldn’t be whether or not we eat meat, or high carbs vs low carbs. The culprit is portion control.
This seems to ring true for everyone in the nutrition industry (both scientists and businesses). Everyone agrees, regardless of their views, that we are simply eating too much. Three meals a day keeps the doctor away.
The only thing that we aren’t eating enough of is vegetables. Again, trust great-granny’s advice: “The greener and leafier you can make the plate, the better.” Regardless of who you are or where you live, vegetables will always make you healthier.
I’m not advocating for a meatless diet – in fact, I love meat. But I have found that if you put the plants on your plate before the mashed potatoes and steak, the healthier you become.
I cut out all of the fluff. Stick to the prescription: Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Your body (and your health) will thank you for it.