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Balanced Nutrition

   Get ready to get your mind blown. Are you ready? Ok, here goes. Losing weight is not necessarily a good thing. Really? Yes really. Many people's concept of fitness is obsessively centered around losing weight. Consequently many diets are also obsessing over this frantic trend. And so you see and hear strange arguments over the malnutrition of milk or the unhealthy nutrients in whole wheat. People start trying to tell you that orange juice is bad for you because it has too much sugar. Wait but chocolate milk isn't?
   Stop! Take a minute and relax. Losing weight is trendy. In many cases it is needed. But losing weight is not the solitary platform of health. Instead of basing your nutrition needs based on weight loss, base it on your lifestyle. Undoubtedly our nation is in the midst of an obscene obesity epidemic, the likes of which no other nation or generation has ever witnessed or imagined possible.
    But most people who recognize that they fall into the obese category fail to change their reality because they focus on the trend (losing weight). Rather than the catalyst (unbalanced lifestyle). And what is balance? Balance essentially engineers itself through consistent equilibrium. Your lifestyle doesn't need a makeover. It simply needs calibration. So what does a balanced nutrition plan look like?
   Well first off let's assert the obvious; no two people are alike. Prescribing the right amounts of nutrition and daily exercise has as much to do with gender, age, health history, fitness level, fitness goals as it does the individual's level of commitment.
   But if there are four basic nutrition needs as stated in our previous article, knowing the correct amounts of each will go a long way in customizing a plan for you the individual. Let's start with fat and end with water. We will cover the rest next week. Fat is not a bad thing. Low fat foods and snacks don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to eating healthy. Dietary fats, in fact, absorb key nutrients that your body needs to function properly and efficiently. Monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats are considered dietary fats; essentially assisting the cells to function properly.
   For example, polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 are necessary because the body does not naturally produce these fats. They are only obtained through diet. They are important for visual and mental function and development. If your cellular membranes do not have sufficient fat coating they cannot properly protect the cell interior from hostile environments meaning your cells will not develop properly. Thus, dietary fat is good. Moving on,
  The average human is 70% water. That is over 70% of your physical identity belongs to water. Without it your organs fail, your neurons become inefficient, no longer transmitting information properly and thus you are no longer a functioning human being. Water keeps your body in operation. The higher amounts of water you drink the more efficiently your body's organs operate. Your cells clearly communicate; hormones are fluidly transported. And when something is wrong your body more clearly identifies it and more adequately treats it. I encourage every adult to drink a gallon of water each day. It makes a difference in energy levels, stamina and productivity.
   These are two vital step is balanced nutrition. Next week we will discuss protein and carbohydrates.

Whole Foods vs Processed Foods

   I think sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things. We see all these different diets and we start to panic when we think ours isn't good enough. We watch shows like the Biggest Loser and get discouraged when we see these television personalities loosing 20- 30lbs in a week. We read about different fitness programs and wonder, why am I not doing that? I want to tell you all a secret. We all have different fitness levels, fitness goals and fitness attributes. But at its core, fitness is simply an extension of our health. Our health is the single greatest attribute we posses as human beings. That is why health insurance costs so much. It is why drug prescriptions are so expensive. Health is the abundance of our society. And lack of it is our destruction.
   Our personal health has no premium, no deductible, no copay. It is tax free, labor ready, and self regulated. But it requires awareness, the cultivation of good habits (we call this discipline). And yes a little bit of effort. It is our greatest asset as human beings and therefore can not afford to be abused.
   Fitness is not a luxury as some would propose. To the contrary, fitness is health management. It is a necessity. Fitness is not bikini model fashion. It is not Male Revue lava. Fitness is a personal choice to take control of your health. That being said let us focus on the basic element for our health, that being food.
   There are only two types of foods. For all the talk about saturated this, mono saturated that, triglycerides here, carbohydrates there; is whole wheat good or bad, as they say in Seinfeld (which by the way happens to be one of my favorite shows) yadayadayada. There are only two types of food that matter here; for this blog. They are whole foods and processed foods. Let's be clear, none of us eat processed or whole foods 100% of the time. That is not the goal here in either direction. Making the distinction will more clearly highlight where the danger lies as your health is concerned.
   I will make it simple for you; as I once read from a fellow fitness expert: processed foods are whatever foods you see playing in commercials on your television. Whole foods are whatever you are able to grow directly from the earth or can attributed directly from an animal. The key word in that last phrase is "directly" indirectly would mean fillers, and homogenized foods, ie the reason that turkey breast on the right is cheaper than the one on the left is because the one on the right is a turkey with pork homogenization. Be wary of ingredients and nutrition labels including things like monosodium glutamate (MSG), flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oil, fillers, and artificial sweeteners.
   The cancer epidemic is a direct result of the mutated foods we have decided to put in our bodies. They are full of radiation, steroids, chemicals and preservatives. The less processed foods you eat, replaced with whole foods, the healthier your body will be because a natural body processes natural foods efficiently. It means more nutrients thus more sustenance.
   There are essentially four nutrients your body needs for sustenance: water, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. These are essential to proper health and health management. Why are these nutrients important? Follow our brief review: Carbohydrates are essentially glucose deposited into your bloodstream that you body interprets as energy. Natural or complex carbohydrates are found mostly in plants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, oats and beans. They are converted into glucose providing energy for the body’s cells, the brain, and red blood cells, or stored for future use in the liver, or in body fat.
   The difference between simple and complex carbs is found here: simple carbs are primarily stored in body fat. This lack of use simply creates more body fat. The growth of glucose in your fat cells creates a need and you begin to crave more simple carbs the more glucose your fat cells store. And so the cancerous cells grow in your body long before doctors are able to tell you they are there.    
   Fats are the most concentrated source of body energy. Recently, too much negative attention has been focused upon fats. Fats are not an enemy and are needed throughout life to support growth and provide energy. Unfortunately, consuming excessive amounts of fat can contribute to many  problems such as high cholesterol and elevated heart rate.
  Proteins are the building blocks making up body tissues, muscles, skin, and organs. When consumed, protein is broken down into amino acids providing the body with energy for various vital functions. Examples of good sources include meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Understand that the majority of health problems arise when you consume too much or too little of any nutrients. That is why a balanced diet (which we will get into next article) is so important. Consume a variety of foods to ensure you get a mix of nutrients. In summary, for a healthy well balanced diet make it a habit to choose unrefined whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas, beans, and whole-grains.
   Until next time be sure to subscribe to our blog and receive free article updates. Encourage your friends to come here for their daily wellness fix.