For our Athlete Shred You Up, the week 4 step 4 challenge is to EAT WHOLE FOODS.
Week 1: Give yourself 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Bonus points for going 14 hours 4 times a week.
Week 2: Drink a glass of hot green tea daily before lunch time.
Week 3: Drink a green smoothie daily, mixed with fruits and veggies.
By now if you are following the plan, you should have noticed that we haven’t told you to take anything OUT of your diet. We have only told you what you should put IN. If you are following these steps there’s pretty much no doubt that you’re already seeing some type of changes, whether they be a change in weight loss, fat-loss, energy levels, appetite control, enhanced sleep, etc.
This week we will now start talking about WHAT YOU SHOULD BE EATING. You should first know, if you haven’t already heard me say this, I don’t like talking about nutrition anymore. EveryBODY is different. So it’s really hard to give general advice when there are so many things to consider. The typical answer to a nutrition question is, “it depends.” You can check out a really good article we wrote last year about some simple nutrition principles here: QUIT MAKING NUTRITION SO DIFFICULT ALREADY.
The second thing you should know is that we would never be the type of people that act like we eat perfect all the time. We don’t, and we are very upfront and comfortable with admitting that. The message that we do preach and practice though is to eat healthy MOST of the time. If you eat healthy most of the time, the little amounts of bad food that you mix in are not going to hurt at all.
With those two things being said, the main nutrition principle that we are comfortable with promoting is to EAT WHOLE FOODS. Dieting fads come and go. Crazy nutrition concepts get thrown at you all the time. None of them are going to work unless you get this underlying principle under control and let it be the base of all your lifelong nutrition habits.
Whole foods are foods that come from the earth, that ideally have been unaltered by man and manufacturing, and have been either not processed or refined at all, or as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances.
When you think of whole foods think of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Think of real food. Think of single ingredient foods or foods with ingredients that are real food. Think of NON-GMO (non-genetically modified organisms) food. Think of organic. Think of foods that didn’t take long to get from the field or farm to your table.
It’s not necessarily easy to find the discipline to eat whole foods. But it should be easy to figure out what constitutes what a whole food is. A simple example we give to our kids is to imagine if the food grew from the ground or from a tree. “You’re not going to find a twinkie tree or a ho-ho bush outside now will ya?”
So before you start stressing about counting calories. Before you begin researching what supplements to take. Before you start obsessing about what food groups you should eliminate. Just ask yourself, ARE YOU EVEN EATING REAL FOOD YET? Is it food that will make your insides happy? Is it God-made or man-made? Does it make up most of your diet, meaning about 80-90%?
Fast-food doesn’t fall under this category. Neither does pizza or pop or most desserts and snacky foods. If it’s in a box or package with a lot of ingredients it probably doesn’t count either. Does it mean you can never eat this stuff again? Absolutely not. It just can’t be a regular staple of your diet. There is no grey area when it comes to this topic. This is a black and white subject of optimal health and well-being.
Whole foods have to make up the majority of what you ingest into your body. Everything else has to be considered “sometimes” foods or beverages.
When you’re having a hard time learning what to eat, this should be an easy concept that will help guide the food choices you make about what should be going into your body.
Food is either medicine or poison. Whole foods are medicine. Processed foods are poison. “Every 28 days your skin replaces itself. Five months for you liver and ten years for your bones. Your body creates new cells from the foods you eat. You have a choice in what you’re made of!” (LiveLoveFruit.com)
There aren’t many things you can control in life. But one of the only things you have complete control over is what you put into your mouth. Show your body the utmost respect and eat mostly whole foods today. And it may just be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.
If you can’t do it for yourself. Do it for God’s sake.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own..” (1 Cor 6:19)