"Eat meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support performance but not body fat."
These are words taken from the article "What is Fitness" originally written by Greg Glassman almost 15 years ago this year. Thousands (if not tens of thousands) of folks around the globe have embraced this outcry for a return to the foods which help us fulfill our journeys towards being healthier, happier humans. And it has been the cornerstone of the CFN "Clean Eating Challenge" for the last three years as well.
This year we will be doing a "Summer Kick-off Nutrition Challenge" in place of our typical "Clean Eating Challenge." The rationale behind the change in name is an attempt to help us not label the foods we eat with "good" or "bad" monikers and consciously or subconsciously labeling ourselves as "good" or "bad" for eating them--this is a small shift yet one that leads to longterm healthier relationships with food and ourselves.
Taking "good vs bad" or "clean vs unclean" out of our lexicon of how we view food, we're left with the age-old question: "What should I eat?"
Eat Food. Eat real food.
For this nutrition challenge, we are keeping the same concept as the year before. We're taking the above quote from Glassman and running with it. We want our folks to realize what kind of health and lifestyle benefits come from eating what Michael Pollan refers to as Real Food.
What is Real Food? In the most simple terms, Real Food either grew from the ground or had eyes. It doesn't contain maltodextrin or potassium sorbate or acesulfame potassium. It probably hasn't been packaged, or if it has not for very long. Likely there aren't commercials on TV trying to sell you on it's benefits. If you were to show it to your grandmother or great-great grandmother she would recognize it and understand the creation process for the food at least in theory (I'm still not sure I completely understand what goes on to make cheese).
With a change in name we will also be packing a little different "how-to" in terms of applying the principles behind our last CEC's. This go round we will talk about the second half of the quote above: "Keep intake to levels that will support performance but not body fat."
How much of this quality food should I eat?
Not too much.
"Duh, David." everyone is now saying. "Keep intake to to levels that will support performance but not body fat." But how?!
We're advocating that for this challenge that we stick to the following:
- Eat a balanced meal each time you sit down: protein/fats/carbohydrates
- Palm sized portion of protein
- Fist sized portion of starch OR fruit
- Thumb size portion of fat
- The rest of your plate should be vegetables (raw, preferably)
- Eating 3-4 times/day
- Males who wear a large or extra large shirt, 4 meals
- Females who were a small or medium shirt, 3 meals
- Only those meals...no seconds or snacks
The above will not dictate the earning of points for the challenge, but we feel that it will contribute to the longest and best decrease in overall body fat levels. Once we have reached an appropriate and healthy level of leanness, we'll start dialing in the performance intake levels.
What happens if I get hungry?
Plants are among the most nutrient dense as well as satiating foods we can eat. If you fill the rest of your plate with vegetables, I can almost assure you will feel satisfied (satiated) towards the end.
As far as raw vegetables go, the intake is almost unlimited (I say almost for the genius who will try and eat a whole bag of baby carrots and then tell me I said they could). As soon as we cook our veggies, the same rules as the starches/fruits above apply (fist).
Couple the "mostly plants" with drinking a healthy dose of water (1/2 bodyweight in ounces) and hunger should decrease drastically. If not, it can at least be dealt with until your next meal.
Quality AND Quantity.
"Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
"Keep intake to levels which support performance not body fat."
Over the next few blog posts we'll chat a little bit more about how to go about integrating the above suggestions into your day-to-day and, ultimately, your life-long journey.