Why do we Eat?
Taste, Energy, and Satiety stimulated by Social, Emotional and Cultural cues creates quite a complex atmosphere for consumption!
Introduction to Fueling Your Body
Sometimes it seems we forget the actual purpose of food is to provide us with the energy and nutrients we need to function. Once you start eating to fuel your body based on what it needs, you can find a new level of performance. Optimizing your diet to accomplish this does not sacrifice taste, and is not restricting. Instead, it encourages a variety of foods as sources of the many nutrients your body needs, in moderate portions (some more moderate than others) that translate to a balanced diet on the plate. As someone who relies on mental and physical performance, you owe it to yourself to eat well. Find your goal and set up your nutrition to accomplish it. On your plate look for a balance of all three macronutrients and the many micronutrients using a variety of foods. Here is the general overview of where our macronutrients come from.
Carbohydrates: Short-term physical energy. The more active you are in a day, the more you need for energy to perform and recover. Also, your mind’s preferred fuel. There are a lot of carbohydrate types. Sugar is the simplest of carbohydrates. It does not require digestion so in absence of fiber you are left with a pure energy spike. Great while exercising but can lead to weight gain if the diet is too high in processed or refined foods high in sugar. Foods that naturally contain sugar often contain the fiber needed to slow digestion and provide your body with a steady energy source.
Sources: Fruits, Whole Grains (Oats, Rice), Starchy Vegetables (Potatoes, Turnips, Parsnips), Sweet Vegetables (Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions), Dairy.
Protein: Our main nutrient required for optimum recovery and maintenance of body processes (Growth, development, Tissue Maintenance, Hormone Production). We only use this nutrient for energy in absence of enough carbohydrates. It assists with slowing down rate of digestion and improving satiety.
Sources: Meats, Eggs, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, Seeds, Beans, and Grains.
Fat: Energy source your body uses most at lower activity levels. Also, needed for the body to maintain skin, hair, hormone function, and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins! Always remember fat does not make you fat. It adds up in calories quickly, but is a necessary part of the daily diet to stay healthy and promote fitness! There are many types of fat, and the research is expanding daily on the benefits of fat content. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and nuts are anti-inflammatory, and the monounsaturated fats in olive oil and avocado are the easiest for your body to process. Optimum dietary fat consumption comes from a variety of sources daily, with the focus on ingredients that are naturally fat. For example, eating a nut or an avocado makes a lot more sense than eating the oil extracted, pressed and bleached from a corn cob, a naturally low fat food. Our body can recognize foods in their natural state better, always.
Sources: Nuts, Seeds, Olive Oil, Avocado, Eggs, Dairy, and Meat products
Remember: Performing and feeling your best requires all 3 nutrients above, from a variety of sources every day! Balance, Moderation and Variety with quality as a priority is key.