What’s the deal with wheat–is it really that bad for you? What should I eat right after a workout? Sweeteners are okay, though, right? What’s this ketosis thing I’ve been hearing about?
Chances are you’ve wondered one of the above questions yourself, and finding the answers can be frustrating. There’s a lot of information floating around there, and here at WellnessFX we want to bring you experts in the field of health and nutrition to help you make the right decisions for a healthy lifestyle.
A couple weeks ago we kicked off the WellnessFX Webinar Series with Ashley Tudor, author of Sweet Potato Power (click here if you missed it!). We gave the audience a chance to ask questions. There were a lot! We already released the first batch answered by WellnessFX’s very own Medical Director Doctor Murdoc Khaleghi. Be sure to check that one out, as there’s a lot of great information!
This next set of questions were for Ashley specifically. The health expert and design strategist answered these with great detail and care, so you’re in for a treat!
There is no need to be afraid of fat. Here are three reasons why:
- Unlike carbs, fat triggers “enough to eat” hormones, so your body feels full even after eating less and keeps you sated for longer.
- Fat burns more slowly in the body providing more consistent energy after eating.
- Full fat foods taste better and are less processed with less chemicals, stabilizers, and fillers.
As far as adding other sources of protein, it’s easy to get chicken and beef boredom, but adding variety can make the difference. Check out a specialty butcher for different proteins like lamb, goat, or pheasant.
Replace carbs with protein and fats at dinner and avoid sugary desserts. A healthy dinner of chicken and veggies will prepare your body for a successful night’s sleep and help you avoid the dips in blood sugar that can wake you up and compel late night feeding. Also, don’t drink! Find another way to unwind at the end of the day – alcohol inhibits REM (the restful sleep).
Eat sweet potatoes shortly after a high intensity work to refuel muscles quickly and replenish glycogen stores. If you are working out first thing in the morning, it’s good to have some food in your stomach so you don’t trigger starvation mode. A couple of tablespoons of sweet potato or nuts before a workout will do the trick.
Give up wheat! It is not good for you. The only “controversial” thing about giving up wheat is that it’s so delicious, convenient, addictive, and culturally important. Foregoing this one food will solve 90% of most people’s diet issues. Eliminating wheat will help you lose weight by managing insulin levels, reducing systemic inflammation in the body, and allowing you to get your appetite under control. Those are powerful results from just one simple tweak.
Having a six pack is not healthy for most women. Fertility is healthy; low body fat that puts your body into preservation mode is not. Some women are genetic anomalies that manage to pull washboards off, but those are the exception, not the rule. Don’t compare yourself to the magazines’ handpicked Photoshopped models. Work out. Eat right. Then find other things to spend your mental energy on.
The quality and health of our food matters. This is especially true for the protein we consume. Personally, I took up hunting as a way to supply large quantities of quality, grass-fed meat. This year, I stocked up on elk, deer, boar, and pheasant. I know the land they foraged on, what they ate, and their quality of life. Eating grass-fed meat is not only a health choice, it’s an ethical one. These days, I only supplement my meat supply with farm-raised protein. Here are a couple of other ways to get clean foods:
- Sign up for a local CSA box. Seasonal vegetables will add variety to your diet. Picked fresh right before delivery, these veggies will offer power-packed nutrients and maximum flavor.
- Find a rancher who will sell you grass fed, pastured animals. Since buying this high quality meat can be expensive, consider going in with some friends and splitting a whole animal.
- Take the time to visit local farms whenever possible and see for yourself how the farmers take care of the land and animals.
- Go get it yourself! Hunt and forage for your meals. Its fun, active work that will connect you to your food in an entirely new way!
Juice is a processed food, even if you make it yourself. It is always best to eat foods in the state closest to the way Mother Nature made it. Veggie juice is moderately better than fruit juice as it lack the high levels of fructose, but both should be considered treats, not everyday staples.
Even if chips come from recognizable whole ingredients like potatoes or corn, they are no bueno. Most chips are cooked in fat that is reused at very high temperatures, breaking down fat into unhealthy molecules that cause oxidative damage in the body. That said, chips are delicious. My Achilles heal is Cheetos. Great science and research has gone into creating this perfectly engineered irresistible Franken food. Enjoy chips every once in a while, but, make them a sometimes food, not a substitute for the real stuff.
Heavy carbs will trigger your body out of fat burning mode and into sugar dependence mode, no matter when you consume them, making your body more prone to crashing during hard training sessions. At least that is the case for me. Do your own test to figure out what works for you!
Foods that taste sweet but have no calories (stevia, lo han guo, xylitol) confuse the body and trigger you to eat more through intensified cravings. That means, you’ll feel hungry even after you just ate. When you crave something sweet, give your body what it needs (protein and fat), not what is asks for (sugar). If you cut sugar (and its substitutes) out of your diet, your cravings will eventually disappear.
There are two main energy sources in the body: glucose created from the breakdown of sugars, and ketones made from the breakdown of fat. Your body naturally functions well in ketosis and the brain prefers ketones as a source of energy. However, the body doesn’t go through the trouble of breaking down its hard earned fat stores unless dietary sources of glucose are low. Once the body is running efficiently off fat you have an energy source that can last you days. For an athlete this means you can go longer without refueling or bonking.
If I work out first thing in the morning, I’ll have something to fuel my efforts like a handful of nuts. After workouts I try to eat as soon as possible. If workouts are strenuous, I take in extra fast-acting carbs like sweet potatoes. Personally, I only eat real food. No gimmicky shakes or supplements, just nature’s goodness.
I am going to try and lean out substantially starting January 1. For me this means eating more and ramping up my fat metabolism by adding lots and lots of good fats.
Here is a typical day in the diet of Ashley:
- Breakfast: 1 egg yolk and 2 eggs; 1 tbsp. MTC oil, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and a dash of balsamic over lettuce
- Lunch: 4 oz. steak, 1 tbsp. butter, and half an avocado
- Snack: 2 tbsp. cream cheese
- Dinner: Chicken breast with grilled veggies and olive oil; full fat Greek yogurt with olive oil and a dash of balsamic on top
Remember, everything should be organic and grass-fed when possible!