Back to Basics Nutrition

By Jackie Babington

Not too long ago, I finished a 3 month course in nutrition (which was awesome), however, in the process of doing it, I got thinking. In all the reading and theories I had read up on and even put myself through, I can see how the average person who has no structure to their nutrition knowledge could get very very lost and confused in the world of eating well. There is:

-Healthy eating
-Clean Eating
-Going paleo
-Gluten free
-Vegetarian
-Eating for your blood type
-Eating for your macros
-Golly gosh, and that’s only to name a few!!

People often allow themselves to become confused in this because they think it must be a super-complicated-scary-intense process or it simply couldn’t be worth the effort. That’s not so and you don’t have to jump in the deep end of a new food concept if you don’t want to.

Some of the fundamental basics that you will find that can be almost always a good point of call are:

Eat your Breakfast!!

People have become accustomed to being night owls and forcing themselves to make the most of the ‘energy’ you might have at night, taking that ‘well-earned’ time to watch TV while eating a late dinner or snacks before going to bed or even squeezing in extra work hours in. 

The problem is if you always do this, you won’t feel like breakfast in the morning. You will certainly be more likely to want to sleep in, than get up early to make a tasty healthy meal to fire your engines for the day.

This could turn into a ‘coffee breakky’ and the inevitable choice of quick energy snacks throughout the day which are often full of sugar.

All you need to do to change this is break this habit just a couple of times, go to bed a little earlier, knowing that if you make the effort to have a healthy breakfast, you will have great energy for the day and kick a little more butt through the morning.

Cereal simply doesn’t cut it in morning nutrition as bang for buck and will often be more bad than good for your health. 

Try having a high protein (eggs, meat, salmon), higher fat (cooked 1-2tsp butter or coconut oil and/or served with Avocado) with some veg (mushrooms, spinach/kale, tomato) as these will help boost brain processes, stabilise blood sugars and keep you satiated for much longer.

Choose Nutrient Dense foods over Nutrient Poor foods

Nutrient density is the amount of nutrients per volume of food, Nutrient rich foods are easier to pick if you look at the Paleo style of eating (dark/colourful fruit/veg, whole meats/fish, unprocessed oils, nuts and seeds, low starch*)

- Nutrient poor foods are often those of a beige or white colour (with the exception of some vegetables) or food that have been through heavy processing (bread, pasta, crackers, chips). These do not provide much nutrient density per volume of food and don’t fuel and nourish you as effectively.

- Eating more nutrient dense foods have the wonderful benefit of filling you up with lots of good nutrients and can be very effective in helping maintain balanced eating. (no one ever binge ate on chicken and vegetables!!)

*This is speaking in relation to people wanting to lose med-high amounts of body fat. Carbs have a place in post-training nutrition for those wanting to gain strength and have a moderate to low body fat.

EAT YOUR GREENS!!!

Yep, mum and grandma were right, greens and low starch vegetables rock for our health. Not only do they provide a wonderful range of vitamins and minerals, but they are chocca block full of fibre. 

Ideally the best ways to consume vegetables is raw (depending on the vegetable), steamed or lightly blanched, as cooking on too high of a heat can ruin the nutrient value and even damage the fibre content.

Basically more quality greens make you feel more awesome!!

Drink Water

This has been hammered into us for years, but heck, our bodies are made up of mainly water!!!

Dehydration often gets confused as hunger leading to unnecessary snacking. 

It’s very important for energy production as good hydration is helpful in our body’s many transportation systems and the absorption of many nutrients and assisting their movement through our system.

Water is essential in also keeping a healthy digestive tract which prevents stomach issues, constipation, gas, haemorrhoids and other nasties. (particularly important if you have increased your greens and protein intake and sweat your face off frequently in Crossfit!!)

 

Once you’ve managed to make these really simple and basic changes, you can start to integrate things like more structured approaches that we use in the Crossfit world such as Paleo and Zoning.

These I will touch base on a tad in the future but have fun working on these for now.