A very controversial and often emotional topic…the eating.
First of all, you hear so many things and there are so many “experts” out there, so you might have the question: why should you trust in me? Maybe a quick overview of my background would be helpful.
- I started doing Judo at the age of 6 (competing from age 10), and I was an active competitor till I was 24. In Judo you have weight categories, so you need to check your weight and eating habits regularly to be able to perform your best. It means, I was on the scale twice a day for 14 years counting not kgs but grams. I often needed to loose 4-5 kgs in one week, so under these circumstances there was no other option just to observe my body’s reaction very closely.
- I studied nutrition management in different schools for years, and just to mention…what they teach depends on their or the director’s belief. So, you need to develop good analytical skills if you want to see the truth.
- I have been working with people who want to lose fat, tone up, get ripped, etc. for almost a decade now. I have taught hundreds of people, and believe me it is a great way to experience different problems and force yourself to find alternative solutions.
- Of course, I am not a medical doctor, and I don’t want to be the guy who knows everything better than others. The human body is so complex that one person has minimal chance to see all the details, but I am willing to learn and I am constantly looking for experts to work together.
But let’s turn out focus on the main topic. How to eat to be healthy, fit and happy?
(I will focus on general fitness and not on competing in any sports…that is a bit different topic.)
If you want to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in your body. Simple mathematics. 🙂 There are three ways to do that.
- Just dieting. In theory it might sound ok but unfortunately your body will use the fat as a very last source of energy. So, you will lose your muscles sooner than your fat. Typical example: relatively thin ladies without any tone. They risk serious problems including osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues, etc.
- Dieting + cardio: The problem here is that during the cardio session you may burn a few calories but after the session the muscles won’t burn more calories (traditional cardio training might be good for your heart but not for loosing weight). Plus, your body will still prefer to reduce muscle instead of your fat storage.
- Proper eating + resistance training….the best solution. Why? Because during the training you burn tons of calories raising your metabolic rate and activating different useful hormonal processes. Plus, your body will need to use extra calories after the training to regenerate your muscle (in simple terms while you feel the muscle soreness). If you eat well, and give enough time to regenerate the energy source will be your fat source.
(Never forget that your training must be safe and efficient. First you need to be able to use your own body perfectly, than learn how to lift the weights correctly and after that you are ready for the “hardcore” training. But you need to go through on these levels there are no short cuts.)
Maybe you have noticed that I have used the term “proper eating”. It is not just about the quantity but mainly the quality of your food.
What happens if you have a petrol car and you start fuelling it with diesel? Or if you change for regular petrol to extra high quality one?
Your body behaves the same way as the engine of your car. You need to use the right ” fuel” and if you want to extend the life of your engine you need to use a high quality one. In a nutshell, your food is your petrol, so please make sure you always respect the requests of your own body.
But what is the “right” type of nutrition? In my point of view, there is no reason to argue which diet is better, because everyone is different. We have different bodies, different lifestyles, different backgrounds, etc. Of course, we have plenty of similarities as well, so you don’t need to start everything from scratch but in spite of this, your main task is to learn the actions and reactions of your own body.
Let’s start with the 5+1 rules that everyone should follow regardless their aim, background, training style, etc.
1. Drink water (min. 2l/day) and nothing else!
We all know how important this is, however people often tend to think that drinking squash, tea or juice are equivalent to pure water. Think logically, how many extra calories you take in with those drinks and where those extra calories come from?
Even if you don’t want to loose weight, you need to know that everything that contains sugar, fructose, glucose or other refined carbohydrates will increase your blood sugar. So basically in the long term you risk not just getting fat but becoming diabetic as well. Not a good deal.
2. Use milk alternatives (no dairy and animal milk products)!
This is a very hot topic. There are plenty of studies and researches available that prove how dangerous milk can be. There are several problems with animal milk but I don’t want to repeat others, so let me highlight one thing only.
Animal milk contains insulin-like growth hormones (IGF-1). It makes sense, because the calf (baby cow) needs to grow and develop the immune system as soon as possible. So, if you want to loose weight, it is quite obvious that animal milk is your enemy.
Also, IGF-1 regulates cell growth, development and division; it can stimulate growth in both normal and cancerous cells. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of this hormones by heating or pasteurizing the milk.
What to do?
Use organic brown rice milk instead of any type of animal milk, plus try to avoid dairy products (sour cream, yoghurt, fatty cheese, etc) as well.
3. Eat brown rice or basmati rice instead of white rice!
Again, if you are interested in this topic deeper you just need Google it. To keep it simple, try to imagine a wholegrain rice. The outer shell contains all the essential elements you need to digest the inner part. Without it the rice will increase your insulin level and it goes straight to your fat stores. And this is just the main issue…
4. The challenge…no sugar or refined carbohydrates!
Yes, I know. 🙂 Today there is sugar in almost everything. I think the majority of people already know that sugar and refined carbohydrates are bad, but the question is…how to get rid of it, and be able to enjoy a great dessert at the same time?
First of all, white sugar, brown sugar, glucose, fructose are all bad for you. Always check the labels, because there are plenty of hidden sugar in the products you may see as a “healthy” option. Also, if you want to lose weight try to avoid eating fruits after 5pm because of the fruit sugar they contain.
I would like to highlight that eating sugar with animal fat (bakery products) is one of the worst things you can do to your body. You won’t just get fat but you are going to damage your muscle cells, plus you are risking to develop leptin resistance as well.
So, what is the solution?
– 85% high quality dark chocolate is ok once a week.
– A handful of nuts (preferably walnut or almond) and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower or pumpkin seed) with a piece of fruit (which is in season) could be a perfect snack between main meals or before training.
– Be creative and make your own sugar, dairy and gluten free cakes (or Google it). If you want some examples under the “My 21 days challenge” page you can find the recipes of some of my favourite healthy desserts.
5. The quality of your food should be high.
We have already talked about it before, so now let me share you some practical advice. Have you ever heard about the term “dirty dozen”? Under this term we collect those 12 vegetables, fruits and plants that contain the highest quantity of dangerous pesticides. Try to always eat the organic (no use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals) variation of the dirty dozen to avoid unnecessary pesticide intake.
Of course, this principal applies to meat as well. Try to find a trustworthy source to ensure is free of hormones and antibiotics. Do you want to eat dangerous hormones (given to animals) or other chemistry elements (they may consume)? Obviously not, so always check the source of your food.
5+1. No alcohol! It is a must if you are serious about your health.
I strongly disagree with anyone who claims that drinking alcohol (even in moderation and red wine) could serve your health. Alcohol is not only damaging your cells but contains the highest amount of calories as well. Of course you should enjoy your life and sometimes alcohol is a part of it, but try to save the drinking for important occasions.
So, these are the rules I believe everyone who cares about his/her and others health should keep them in mind. But as I mentioned before we are all individuals with individual needs. So, let’s see how to make your nutrition more precise.