Hey everyone, today I’m going to talk about some general rules for good eating habits and also Ashmeade’s top 6 power foods. The reason that I say general is because when it comes to nutrition we as human beings can almost eat whatever we want. We just need to be conscious of portion size, frequency and nutritional balance. Here are some easy rules to stick to and the best part is there are only three.
#1 Eat live, fresh, REAL foods. I don’t mean you have to eat “organic,” what I mean is simply eat foods that were once alive. If it swam in the oceans, lakes or rivers walked on the earth, climbed trees, grew from the soil or flew in the sky…EAT IT. Stay away from foods that are in boxes, cans and bags! Also try to eat cooked foods as little as possible. Most of the nutrients and vitamins are lost during the cooking process. 50% or more of your foods should be fresh and not cooked in every meal.
#2 Stay Away from Dairy. There are many studies and tests that prove dairy products are not good for us but I will leave that for another blog. I want to give you some reasons that I see and from first-hand experience that you should not eat dairy. First of all we are the only animals that drink milk after infancy, our bodies are not made to process milk and over 70% of humans are lactose intolerance. When I used to consume dairy products, I had many stomach and digestion problems. This is something shared by many of my clients, friends and family. If you’re worried about your bones, you can get all the calcium, and other vitamins and minerals from other foods such as sardines and leafy greens like, spinach and kale. Lastly milk these days is packed with sugar, making it even worse for you. I would suggest staying away from dairy as much as possible.
#3 No to Sugar and Yes to Fats. This one is simple…STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR!!! I’m talking about refined sugar. I don’t need to get specific, basically any food that MAN has made. (Refer to rule #1) Secondly, increase your healthy “Good” fats intake. “Good” fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats because they lower disease risk. Foods high in good fats include vegetable oils (such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts, seeds, and fish.
Here are the Top 5 foods that you should add to your diet. These foods are packed with the most essential vitamins and minerals for the body and are some of the best examples of foods in macro nutrient intake.
#1 Spirulina- is a plant based Protein that is even better than hemp seeds. Dried spirulina contains about 51–71% protein. It is a fresh water micro plant that is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. Being a plant based protein; you don’t have to cook it which reduces the amount of protein in the process. Spirulina is one of the only plant based complete protein. You can find it in the health food store and even Bulk Barn in pill or powder form.
#2 Spinach- Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package. Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. Spinach has 15 out of 21 of the most essential vitamins needed for human function and optimal health. You can add them to your omelettes, make it the base of salads and blend them into your morning shake.
#3 Sunflower seeds- Sunflower seeds provide a rich source of vitamins E and B-1, as well as copper. Adding nuts and seeds to your diet benefits your health. They are easy and convenient, plus can be added to any salad or meal. These are the perfect emergency food when you are on the run or working in a situation where you can’t sit down and eat. Have a shake with a handful of nuts or seeds and that will hold you over until the next meal.
#4 Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought. Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype. Coconut oil is the highest source out of all the oils and tastes amazing on salads and in smoothies. It is a little more expensive due to the high quality but you don’t need to use as much because of its concentration.
#5 Goji Berries- Their history as a medicinal plant has roots in ancient China, where goji berries still are used to treat eye, liver, and kidney ailments. A host of additional nutritional and medical claims have made the fruit very popular. Goji berries are high in vitamin C and fibre, and low in calories. They are also a good source of iron and vitamin A. One serving of about four ounces of goji berries even provides nearly 10 percent of the suggested amount of dietary protein, a surprising amount for a fruit. They make a perfect addition to cereals, oatmeal, fruit salad or regular salads, also great in trail mix.
#5 Cocoa- I saved the best for last! Cocoa is such an amazing food that it at times is considered a medicinal. According to Elson Hass in his book “Staying Healthy with Nutrition,” cocoa may provide antidepressant benefits. Cocoa may also have the ability to boost endorphins, which act as natural “happy” opiates. Finally, cocoa may boost serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that antidepressants target in order to boost overall happiness levels. On top of this Cocoa also contains approximately 43.6 mg of flavonoids per gram. Flavonoids are part of a powerful group of antioxidants known as polyphenols, and according to Medical News Today, cocoa is one of the highest polyphenol-containing foods. In addition to the above possible health benefits of cocoa powder, cocoa may lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots, increase blood flow to the arteries, lower high blood pressure, boost cognitive performance and provide essential minerals such as calcium and potassium…. And it’s chocolate!! I’m not telling you to start eating all kinds of chocolate, remember everything in moderation. I also want you to have cocoa in power form without the sugar, not the mars bar…lol
The main thing I want to mention is to focus on adding things to your diet instead of subtract. If you keep adding good stuff to your diet, eventually you will have less room for the bad stuff and you won’t want it any more. It’s all about small changes to improve your overall nutrition habits and lifestyle. Food was created for us to eat and treat, but like all things it can be abused so stay in control and enjoy using food as fuel to charge your body, mind and soul.
Until next time
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Dan has been a personal trainer since 2008.