I realized I have skipped over the most basic principles of where to start (nutrition-wise) if you want to improve your health. (If you already know all of this but are looking for more on a specific health concern, go HERE or HERE )
I am super passionate about helping people change the way they eat, in order to alleviate health problems (i’ll get into the specifics down below!).
I am ALSO passionate about helping my clients eat in a way that won’t drive them crazy, make them feel deprived, or feel like they are on another diet.
The focus of this post is to start with the basic template of the most nutrient dense foods to fuel your metabolism, energy, skin/hair/nail health, digestion, and basically every other function of the body.
Here is a very basic, nutrient dense- paleo template:
- Grass fed beef/bison
- Wild caught fish, seafood
- Pasture raised chicken
- Pastured eggs
All, preferably in season and organic
All, preferably in season and organic
- Potatoes (white, sweet, purple)
- Oils (olive, coconut, avocado, cold-pressed nut oils)
- Nuts/ seeds
The ideal macronutrient breakdown for each person will be different depending on your goals (we get into the specifics here), but a good place to start is 40% carbs (fruit, veggies, starches) 30% fats and 30% protein. Remember that fat has more energy (calories) than protein or carbs, so the amount of fat you need will be less (volume-wise) than the other two macronutrients.
If you are constantly suffering from things like seasonal allergies, joint pain, slowed metabolism, headaches, congestion, chronic sinus infections, brain fog, etc. the list above is a great place to start, in order to figure out if the source of your health problems could simply be processed foods or a food sensitivity.
What most people don’t realize is that chronic nagging symptoms like these are DIRECTLY tied to the food you eat and your nutritional status.
The list above is also somewhat restrictive, and feeling like you can’t go out to eat or satisfy your cravings is NOT how I ever want my clients to feel. Enter: my Rebelle food guide pyramid 😃
I’ll use myself as an example for how I use this food guide pyramid. I focus about 80% of my meals around the nutrient dense foods I listed above. This is because these are the foods my body craves on a daily basis (the base of the pyramid). However, some mornings I wake up and I want gluten-free cereal with almond milk, so I have it. My craving is then satisfied in a way that is not going to effect my mental health or joints, and by the time lunch comes around I am usually ready for a good amount of protein and fat. I also make sure to satisfy my chocolate craving on a daily basis by choosing the highest quality cacao powder (I LOVE this brand) and making homemade hot chocolate or coconut oil chocolate bars. (Foods like my gluten free cereal or chocolate would make up the middle part of the pyramid - they are not quite as nutrient dense, but they are also not harmful to my health in any way either). Finally, sometimes when I am traveling, celebrating, or just have a craving, i’ll have a margarita, or frozen yogurt, or try a new restaurant dish that i’ve never had before. (These would fall under the top triangle).
I know that these choices won't make me feel optimally, so I save them for special occasions. However, it is important to me to enjoy celebrations, traveling, parties, etc. and part of that is enjoying the food! The next day, I usually feel like upping my intake of vegetables or drinking more water, and that is the beauty of listening to what your body needs.
These are just a few personal examples, but every client is different and will have different cravings, needs, and goals! The takeaway here is to figure out what foods make you feel deprived when eliminated. For me, this is chocolate. I know that a store-bought candy bar is not going to make me feel good or promote health, so I make my own. This way, my craving is satisfied in a way that will not negatively impact my health. I can also go on with the rest of my day, choosing (mostly) nutrient dense foods without making my self insane trying to resist a chocolate craving.
Remember, stressing out about your food choices or feeling like you can’t go to a birthday party or out for drinks is going to do your mind (and body!) way more harm than good. My goal is to inspire people to seek a more balanced way of eating and living, where LIFE comes first and food comes second.
What is your biggest struggle when it comes to eating in a nutrient-dense way that still allows you to feel sane? Let me know in the comments below :)