Habits and Super Foods
The first step to optimizing your nutritional intake is to work your way through this diet guide and design your baseline nutrition plan. This is the easy part, and in fact I am going to teach you how to do this yourself.
To begin with, all of the SFS Nutrition Plans are based on what I call the 10 habits. These 10 habits represent 10 simple rules that, if you live by them, will transform your body.
The first thing that you should notice is that these habits are pretty straight forward. However just because they are simple don't think that these habits are simplistic. These habits speak to the three most important considerations every diet should be based on. These are: When to eat, What to eat, and How much to eat.
When most people think of eating healthy or eating to lose fat, they're thinking of one thing, how much they're eating or their total calorie intake. However, it should come as no surprise that there's more than that to eating well, especially if optimal health, body composition, and improved performance are your goals. Let's be clear about this, total calorie intake is important as this dictates you total weight change. Eat too much for too long a period of time, with intake outpacing your expenditure, and you're going to gain weight. Eat too little food for too long a period of time, with expenditure outpacing intake, and you're going to lose weight. That is about as simple as I can state it. What is most important is the quality of these gains and losses. After all when losing you want to be losing mostly fat and when gaining you want to be gaining mostly muscle. It's what you're eating and when you're eating that determines the quality of your gains and losses.
So, while total calorie intake is important for determining how much weight you'll gain or lose, what you're eating (food selection) and when you're eating (food timing) are very important for changing your body composition. Remember, if you're paying attention to all three: how much you're eating, what you are eating, and when you're eating, you'll be in charge of your body and your results will be light years ahead of those around you. Again, take care of how much to eat, what to eat, and when to eat; and your health, body composition and performance will fall right into line.
So how do you put these three considerations into practice? Well, that's easy. For starters, follow the 10 habits below. These are the baseline of good habits that will allow you to fairly easily control calorie intake, food selection, and food timing. You'll see what I mean in a while, as you go through them.
Habit 1: Eat Every 2 -3 hours
Habit 2: Eat complete, lean protein with each feeding opportunity
Habit 3: Eat vegetables with each feeding opportunity
Habit 4: If fat loss is your goal, eat veggies and fruits with any meal; "other carbs" only after exercise
Habit 5: Eat healthy fats daily
Habit 6: Don't drink beverages with more than 0 calories
Habit 7: Eat whole foods instead of supplements whenever possible
Habit 8: Plan ahead and prepare feedings in advance
Habit 9: Eat as wide a variety of good foods as possible
Habit 10: Plan to break the rules 10% of the time
The Cheat Sheet
As you can see, the 10 Habits above are simple and straightforward. Sure, there are a few subtleties and goal/body-type specific things you'll eventually have to know. However it is important not to get caught up with the details, at least not at the beginning.
To help you keep it simple and to help you make sure you're using the 10 habits daily, I have created a "Cheat Sheet" that you should carry in your wallet or purse. When it comes to planning, preparing, or ordering food, consult the cheat sheet to make sure you're sticking to your goals. This will help you develop good habits. Each time you use the cheat sheet, you'll reinforce this new and better way of thinking about food. Eventually you won't even need it. Your habits will have changed, for life.
10 Habits Cheat Sheet
Answer each question according to the 10 Habits
1. When did you last eat?
If it's been longer than 2-4 hours, it time to eat.
2. Where is the complete protein?
Are you about to eat at least 1 serving of complete protein? If not, find some protein. (20-30g for women and 40-60g for men)
3. Where are the veggies?
Are you about to eat at least 2-3 servings of veggies? Prepare them anyway you like, but eat them with every feeding opportunity. (one serving is about 1/2 cup of veggies).
4. Where are the carbs?
If you have fat to lose but have not worked out, put down the pasta, bread, rice and other starchy carbs in favor of a double serving of fruits and veggies, that even includes at restaurants. If you have just worked out, a mix of carbs sources are fine.
5. Where are your fats coming from?
Today you need some fat from animal foods, from olive oil, from mixed nuts, and flaxseeds /flaxseed oil. Spread then throughout the day but make sure to add them in.
6. Did you take your fish oil yet?
Make sure you don't miss taking a capsule or two with each feeding opportunity
7. Are you drinking water or green tea?
Avoid the calorie containing drinks, send back the soda, fruit juice and anything else with more than 0 calories.
8. Are you breaking the 10%?
Are you breaking any of the rules above? If so, count this feeding opportunity as part of your 10%, log it, and get back on track with your next meal.
The 21 Superfoods
When someone thinks of eating well, they often say things like; I'm watching what I eat. The idea of watching what you eat however has become synonymous with eliminating foods from your diet. If you want to achieve the optimal balance between health, body composition, and performance, this is a mistake. The best nutrition program offers replacements and additions, not just subtractions. In other words, they teach you which foods you should be eating more of. Spend most of your time for those not on the bad food list.
To give you a head start, listed below are the 21 Super Foods I recommend to all of my clients. You should absolutely include this list in your daily plan. These foods fit nicely into the 10 habits discussed above and represent what to eat. Now don't just assume these are the only foods I recommend! Rather, these are important foods that you should include in addition to the other foods to round out your diet.
The 21 Superfoods
1. Lean red meat (93% lean, top round, sirloin)
3. Omega-3 Eggs
4. Low fat, plain yogurt (lactose free if you can find it)
5. Protein Supplement
6. Green Tea
7. Liquid Exercise drinks
(quickly digested carbs and protein)
8. Green+ (vegetables concentrate supplement)
Veggies and Fruits:
11. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower
12. Mixed berries
14. Mixed Beans
16. Whole Oats
17. Mixed nuts
19. Extra Virgin olive Oil
20. Fish Oil
21. Flax seeds (ground)