I wonder how many books, articles, blogs, papers, essays, and journals there are covering nutrition?
Why does the topic of what we eat get so much damn attention? I really don't know. Maybe because people hold such strong beliefs about the food they eat? Maybe that's why it's common to see so much Internet squabbling over this topic...
Food is addictive
What we eat is the result of our habits, both good and bad. We all know how hard it is to break a habit right? It's extremely difficult. And then the food itself is a drug and elicits a hormonal response in our body (addiction, herrrro). Scientists have proven that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
WTF? Why does the deck have to be so stacked against us?!
The human condition is one in which we will defend our beliefs to our last breath. We will kick and scream in the face of overwhelming evidence. We will ignore facts and use all kinds of biases to maintain our status quo. Our beliefs have a survival purpose, they keep us safe from the danger of the unknown. The problem is, in our modern-day, most of our beliefs end up being a simple case of closed-mindedness.
Food is no different than any other topic like politics or religion. These topics are so heavily argued because of the beliefs we hold; ones that we have grown up with or been conditioned to believe in some way. And our beliefs cloud our judgment.
So why another piece on the worlds-most-essayed topic? Well, it's simple: this should be the last piece you ever have for read on this topic, forever-ever. Through my personal pursuit of health, fitness, and abs, I have been fortunate enough to stumble upon the secret to WHAT REALLY IS PROPER NUTRITION.
What is this secret principle of proper nutrition that works for every person on the planet? What is the cure for modern disease and obesity? What would save the US economy billions of dollars in health care costs used to treat these diseases? What tastes amazing and nourishes better than anything else?
The answer is Real Food.
The Basics We Can All Agree On
Most of us can usually agree on a few things regarding nutrition. We all know that we should eat real food that isn't processed. Most will agree that this is a safe and true recommendation. You can also tell someone that sugar is bad and you won't face any resistance. Beyond this it gets fuzzy and confusing. For example, when you start explaining that grains, lentils, and beans are not good for you, you can start to lose people.
When you confuse people you breed distrust and when this happens you have nearly lost the battle. No amount of explanation, coercion, yelling, screaming, or kicking is ever going to get this person to believe you and listen to your recommendations. And this is why I think so many fail in learning proper nutrition: they become confused by the lack of a singular source of truth and ultimately give up.
Let's avoid this confusion by focusing on what really matters: eating unprocessed real food
Based on this fundamental recommendation--one that we all agree on--we can craft a perfect way of eating by using a few checks and balances:
- If it isn't real, don't eat it
- If it was processed in anyway via machine, preservative, stabilizer, etc, don't eat it.
That's it, ladies and gentlemen. Eat real food that isn't processed as often as possible and you will lose body fat, stabilize your hormones, and become sexified!
Ask yourself one question each and every time you are about to eat something: is this real or produced by a machine? The answer to this question is your perfect test. Don't be fooled if the label says organic, gluten-free, or any of that marketing nonsense. Make sure you read the ingredients label. Are there 1 or 2 ingredients or 20? The latter is processed and the former is likely raw, whole, and unadulterated. Something with twenty ingredients cannot be considered real food. It is manufactured, it is processed. Therefore you shouldn't eat it!
- Only eat real food (that was treated well when alive)
What is real food?
- Real food spoils. It must stay in the fridge or freezer
- Real food is raw and must be prepared at home for composition
- Real food has 1 or two ingredients. Food with a laundry list ingredient labels is not real food.
- Real food comes first in the form of healthy animals from land, sky, and sea. These are the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat
That's it. You never have to read another nutrition book, article, or lecture again! I'll leave you with a few final closing tips to fill in the gaps. But remember, the only real (pun) thing that matters is real food.
If you can implement this mindset--one that focuses on real food and only real food--than I firmly believe that you have all the information you will ever need regarding what to eat.
Now that we know we should be eating real food, let's fill in the gaps of what that looks like a bit more. I don't want you eating 30 bananas a day (yes, some moron recommends that and has a site built around it. Don't go there).
A few of the many food myths that seem to cause confusion and inaction in people include:
- Fat doesn't make you fat. In fact, eating the proper fat--coconut, pastured butter, healthy animal fat--does wonders for fat loss and general health. Fat should comprise a healthy percentage of your diet (and egg yolks are the best part of the damn egg so please stop throwing them away).
- Animals (land and sea) should comprise a large percent of your diet and what matters is what they ate (natural diet), how they lived (not factory farmed), and if the end-product is processed or not.
- Grains are not good for you in any form. Same with beans and lentils. Don't eat them.
- Buy organic and local produce as much as possible. Certain produce, when grown using synthetic chemicals, can cause more harm than good.
Tips on eating real food
- Eat a balanced, colorful diet consisting of real food that was treated well before becoming a product. Each meal should have fat, carbs, and protein. Your meals will be lower carb on average because of the lack of unprocessed carb-dense foods found in nature. After that the percentages don't matter much, just test and tweak and listen to what your body tells you.
- Buy and prepare your own food. Restaurant food is unknown, there is little regulation in the industry. Restaurants use crappy ingredients to keep the food addictive and cheap. You can't be healthy eating out, it's impossible. Go to the grocery store and buy the best ingredients you can find.
A few tips for eating real food when not cooking at home:
- If you must eat out, try this: opt for fish first, then chicken or steak, and always hold the bread. Avoid anything breaded or deep-fried. Some of my favorite options include chipotle, a salad at Panera bread, the higher-end steakhouses, and quality sushi.
- Start fasting. You can get down to one or two meals a day pretty easily. You wouldn't believe the amount of time this saves you. It also makes it so much easier to stay consistent as you reduce the number of times you need to make a decision.
That's it, folks. You now know everything you will ever need to know regarding nutrition. The only thing that is left is the doing. Make sure you eat Real Food that isn't processed. Make this the bulk of your diet and you will see crazy benefits in your health, body, and life.