I discussed in a previous article some general points about nutrition and broke down the importance of Quantity with a brief dive into Quality (Nutritional Basics Part 1). Now we are going to break down QUALITY even further. As stated in the previous article, very few things with nutrition are finite and there is much trial and error to be had here. However here is what I have had the most success with over my years experimenting with guinea pigs…..ummm I mean clients.
Let’s establish a hierarchy of what is most important to “attack” first. With the general population I focus on Quality of food, then Quantity and finally timing and frequency of meals. I do this because I like a more gradual approach with the average Joe. On the flip side I would take a much more aggressive approach with someone who has had experience training and tracking macros, as they would likely make the necessary changes without having to undergo a “buy in” period. The bottom line is being willing to make changes and accept viewpoints that differ from common government standards, as this is essential to your own “buy in”.
Here is how I would help someone who is very low on the nutrition totem pole, so to speak. First week, address liquid intake. Cut out the majority of the junk you’re drinking and get close to a gallon of water a day. Second week, concentrate on breakfast quality. Third week, look at lunch quality. And the fourth week addresses dinner quality. Once these are controlled I will then tackle quantity, as discussed previously. Once that is on point, I will move meal timing around to best facilitate workout gainzz and/or muscle growth. In general, I recommend single ingredient foods by macro category as follows:
Lean Protein: White Fish, Chicken, Turkey, Whey Protein, Egg whites, 90/10 or leaner ground beef/steak/bison.
Protein + Fat: Cold water fish, 80/20 ground beef/marbled steak, Full fat dairy, Whole eggs.
Carbohydrates: White or Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oats, Veggies, Potatoes (Sweet or White), Fruit.
Fats: Coconut Oil, Kerry Gold Butter, Macadamia nuts/oil/butter, Walnuts/oil/butter, Avocado, Olive Oil, Almonds/butter.
I have found this to be a very easy and helpful start to the long journey of changing someone’s nutritional habits and setting them up for long term success. By simply choosing to eat single ingredient foods you can facilitate weight loss and see the improvement of various health markers such as (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose and CRP, to name a few). Whatever you decide to do, commit to it and you will likely see changes. Remember YOU are in sole control of what you put in your body!
Mike Grillo B.S. Exercise Science, NASM CPT, NASM CES, USAW, CrossFit Level 1