What should you actually eat?
Nutrition is a multifaceted topic where the advice given can vary even for the experts. In a room filled with highly educated nutritionists, specialists, doctors and naturopaths there will be agreements and disagreements regarding what is best.
In my approach with my 1:1 clients, I focus on whole food nutrition. I urge my clients to get off their food tracking apps and go back to intuitive eating. That’s where Grandma got it right. When we adopt her ways of eating we easily eliminate the confusion surrounding what we should eat to look and feel our best.
Eat Like An Old Lady.
I like the way Grandma ate. Her food came from a garden, an animal or the sea. She ate small, nutrient-dense meals a few times a day. This is especially true if Grandma was alive during The Great Depression. After World War II we saw food start to change. Food started to become a product. Convenience was needed for working women. Food additives and preservatives were congratulated as being “smart.”
Today, we can see how this shift has created a ripple effect of disease. Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease are all growing at alarming rates. The average American is much larger than we were 50 years ago. The good news is this: Americans are getting fed up with feeling bad and are smartening up. They are looking for wild-caught fish, organic produce and free-range proteins. The first place to start is with our food.
Eat Your Vegetables
Grandma’s rule of eating your vegetables before you could get down from the dinner table was spot on. Your body does know the difference between calories from sweet potato and calories from a doughnut. That’s why only counting calories or tracking macros won’t work. We must consider the quality of our foods and the source of our foods. I am an advocate for organic vegetables when possible. Grandma’s garden was organic. If you are a volume eater then consuming vegetables will be perfect for your mindset. If half of your plate is roasted Brussels Sprouts, you can feel good about consuming cruciferous vegetables and your brain will love seeing the generous portions.
If you are new to vegetable consumption, I recommend finding one way of preparing a vegetable and sticking with it. Don’t over-complicate things. Add in more vegetables and soon your body will start to crave that. Added bonus, I’ve never heard a client say they are absolutely bloated and lethargic from all that broccoli they ate!
Quit Eating All The Time
Grandma didn’t eat 6 mini-meals a day. Grandma didn’t have access to snacks at her finger tips. Grandma broke her fast typically with eggs, ate a well-rounded lunch and had dinner ready to serve as many as she could. Dinner might have included organ meats or fattier cuts because those were less expensive. She might even be serving the chicken that used to be out back, near the garden. Friends, this is ideal. Her protein source foraged the land, had a good life and one bad day. She would have multiple vegetable offerings and maybe a small slice of something sweet for dessert. Note the word “small” that I used above. After dinner, chores were performed preparing for the next day. Before bed, she might’ve had a nice cup of tea.
Grandma was intermittent fasting without realizing it. She was able to do this successfully because her meals were nutrient dense. If you need more information about intermittent fasting you can read recent blog posts here, here and here.
Get on the move.
Grandma wasn’t resting on her laurels and you shouldn’t either. We have added conveniences to our modern lives that can come in handy. But we are sacrificing our body’s need for movement. Cleaning the house, ironing the clothes, washing the car, clearing the gutters, shoveling the snowy drive, pulling the weeds, tending the garden and walking to the store are much needed in our lives. When we outsource all of these tasks we are eliminating opportunities to increase our caloric burn during the day. Bodies were designed to be in motion. I urge you to walk the dog, shovel the drive and pull your own weeds. They may seem like dreaded chores, but the 30 minutes of physicality will end up increasing your serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine production. These are the brain chemicals that make us happy!
That inner youthful glow that you are looking for can be found in healthy vegetables, healthy fats and everyday movement. Stress, processed foods and lack of activity age us prematurely. Embrace Grandma’s way of life, I promise you’ll reap the benefits.
Eat like an old lady. Look like a young one.
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