It’s simple. Or it should be.
Eating, that is.
I believe Michael Pollan said it best:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
But for some reason, we feel a need to complicate eating. We keep coming up with these crazy a$$ diets that promise to magically transform our bodies into the ‘ideal’. (You know, by eating/not eating A., B., or C, you will become 5’8″, weigh 120 #’s, possess killer abs and be equipped with long, toned legs. And you will be tan. Can’t forget that. Heck you might even become blonde and blue eyed.)
So we drink apple cider vinegar or cycle our carbs or partake in cleanses.
But despite all of the diets out there, and all of the money poured into the diet industry, studies confirm what we already know: we are not becoming healthier.
Therefore, I’d like to suggest something different. I’d like to suggest something a little more sane. A little more realistic. A little more doable. A little more common sense.
As you probably are already aware, food is comprised of micronutrients and macronutrients.
Nutrients are the components of food that nourish your body. They provide your body with energy, promote a healthy metabolism, and overall, ensure that your body functions properly.
Now hold onto your hats…this is where it is so cool being an ELA teacher. Micro and macro are prefixes (The little chunk that goes before a word that modifies its meaning). Micro means small. You know…like microscope and microwave. Macro means large. Like…uhm…yeah. Not many words I could throw at you with the prefix macro. Perhaps we could start a trend at Starbucks by asking for a macro-coffee. Or not.
There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
So far, so good, yes?
The problem seems to be that we classify these nutrients as being either good or bad. And then we attempt to follow crazy diets that either emphasize, restrict, or eliminate one of the three macronutrients.
Each year I teach my students about connotation and denotation. Denotation being the dictionary meaning of a word, while connotation refers to the positive and negative associations many words have.
So what connotations do you have with the following words?
I’m guessing you associated some negativity with one or more of those words.
But the reality each is critical to your health. Science has my back on this one.
You need protein to support the growth and maintenance of your body. (PSA…your body can’t store protein. In other words, you need to eat it regularly, but there is no point in eating it excessively.)
You need carbohydrates to provide your body with energy.
And you need fats…not only to provide your body with energy, but to support cell growth, and to aid in the absorption of certain nutrients.
Carbs and fats are not the enemy. Nor are proteins your savior.
So how about this? Choose your food wisely.
Not all macronutrients are created equal.
Eat foods rich in nutrients.
Eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Eat avocados, nuts and seeds. And when you choose your protein, be aware of what else accompanies it, like sodium or saturated fats.
And for goodness sake, ease up on processed foods. Be aware of what is in your food and where your food came from.
And most importantly, listen to your body.
Not every day is the same.
Eat when you are hungry, and eat what you are hungry for.