Earlier this week I was shopping for real clothes (a nice change from my regular attire; spandex) and got to chatting with the lady who was helping me make a decision. When I told her I was a strength coach/holistic nutritionist she immediately asked me “I want to lose weight what would be the main thing I need to cut out from my diet?” Without even thinking I said “nothing”… let me explain.
Tackling a healthy lifestyle can be very overwhelming, the wealth of knowledge available can intimidate some into inactivity. There are countless lists of what you should and shouldn’t eat, what foods are great for weight loss, what foods you should eliminate from your diet and so on. The problem with these general list is the lack of specificity to the individual, and frankly, some of the information can be inaccurate or misleading. General nutrition and exercise rules do not apply to everyone so it is difficult for me to just give a general tip and have it work for everyone. That being said, this one rule governs my life and I encourage others to adhere to it as well:
Add before you subtract!!
The word “diet” has a very negative connotation and people automatically think: restriction. Nutrition should become a lifestyle not a state of deprivation with an end date. Regardless of the health goal you have in mind if you start to add more nutritious foods you will notice; increased energy, glowing skin, increased mental clarity, improved metabolism and so on. The “good stuff” will eventually replace the “bad stuff”.
In trying to reach your health goals you should start by adding the good stuff before you remove all the bad. Don’t misunderstand me, I think it is important to limit and or eliminate “food like” substances, such as processed foods, harmful additives, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, excess sugar and so on. I think it is important however to add healthy foods first.
Here are some of my top “tips” to boost your health:
- Add more fruits and veggies. One of the best ways to get the amazing nutrients contained within fruits and vegetables is incorporating a daily fresh pressed vegetable juice or green smoothie. (See below for my tropical green smoothie recipe)
- Add more plant-based protein meals. Eating excess animal protein can have negative impacts of digestion and overall health. Having one plant based day a week (Meatless Mondays) or a daily plant based meal can improve health. Incorporate foods like quinoa, beans/lentils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and seeds etc.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is incredibly important for vitality. Try to drink good quality natural spring water, natural coconut water, and herbal teas to stay hydrated.
- Add more healthy fats. Fats are vital for our health and well being. Add oils like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil and flax oil etc. Add foods high in good fats like avocadoes, nuts, seeds and fish etc.
- Add more complex carbohydrates and fibre. Carbohydrates are our bodies first energy source so choose whole grains and vegetables. These allow for long lasting energy without major spikes in blood sugar levels. Add brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, sweet potato etc.
Look at the big picture when it comes to your health goals; go for the lifestyle vs. the diet. If you would like to eat cake on a friends birthday go right ahead, just add in extra water and a green juice the next day to boost your health and most importantly don’t feel guilty! Remember, add the good stuff!
Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe
- ½ cup pure coconut water
- ½ cup natural spring/filtered water
- ¼ cup frozen pineapple
- ½ banana
- 1 soaked date
- 1-2 cups fresh greens (spinach, kale etc.)
- 2 tbsp. hemp seeds
Optional: Add in your favorite plant-based protein (Biosteel Vegan etc.)