When it comes to being healthy and living your best life, exercise is only part of the equation. Chances are you’ve heard of the 80/20 ratio: 80 percent of your weight depends on your diet, not how much you exercise. Of course, a combination of healthy foods and regular sweat sessions is the best way to get in shape and stay in shape.
I mostly follow a raw diet consisting of plants and vegetables. I find that I feel my best when my meals include lots of fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and sprouted grains. However, I know that my lifestyle is not for everyone.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s not what you eat, but what you don’t eat.
This is some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and it has changed the way I think about food. Below are some of my favorite tips for staying healthy and always performing at the top of my level. You’ve probably heard a few of these before, but it never hurts to remind ourselves.
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” – Hippocrates
• Drink lots of water!
Water helps energize your muscles, clear your skin, and even satiates hunger. It’s good for your kidneys, your brain, and your bowels. Whenever I feel thirsty, I try to drink only water, pure green juices or kombucha, which is great for a healthy gut!
• Eat a colorful and varied diet of whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods.
What does that mean? If it grew in the ground, you can pronounce it, and if it had a mother, you can eat it. One of the easiest ways to follow this rule is to only shop from what you see on the perimeter of your grocery store. This is where you’ll find fresh produce, dairy, and organic meats.
• Avoid processed sugars and white carbs or foods with a high glycemic index.
White bread, rice, and pasta are high in sugars and can have some serious negative impacts on your health. Luckily, there are tons of delicious whole grain substitutes for these products so you can avoid them altogether.
• Avoid saturated fat and trans fats.
Substitute these fats with healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Say no to french fries and opt for a handful of almonds or a piece of live grain toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Switch out your milk chocolate for an ounce of dark chocolate after dinner.
• Always combine complex carbohydrates (most fruits and veggies) with lean protein at every meal.
Pairing a protein and a complex carbohydrate is the most efficient way for your body to digest your food and convert it into energy and not fat.
• Size matters – practice portion control!
One serving size of complex carbs like fruits and veggies is about two handfuls, and one serving of protein should fit in the palm of your hand. If you’re snacking on healthy fats, keep it small. A dozen almonds, an ounce of dark chocolate or a tablespoon or two of olive oil on your salad is all you need.
• Eat for maximum nutrient density.
Avoid “empty” calories at all costs. That means no fast food, soda, snacks, cakes, and cookies. Opt for nutrient-dense foods like kale, seaweed, blueberries, and even dark chocolate. Quality calories fill you up faster, for longer, and help your body function like a machine.
• Enjoy your food.
Food is supposed to be something you enjoy. Eating clean lets your body experience flavorful, hearty, and delicious wholesome food.
Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated.
Follow my tips and focus on incorporating a few healthy dishes into your life, then repeat the ones you love each week. You’ll see that with a few simple adjustments to your routine, eating well is easy.
What’s your favorite healthy eating tip? Share with me in the comments.