In this post, we'll be giving you our best advice on how to eat if you want to live long and strong!
Simplest Advice on Making Food Related Decisions:
Calvin: I ask myself, “self, would it be better to starve, or to eat this (insert delicious food here)?” and if the honest answer is yes, I don’t eat it… unless it’s time for my cheat meal, and I’m dying for some Ben & Jerry’s ;-)
You see, why would I put something into my body that offers my body more harm than good? Because it tastes good? Well, I can certainly think of plenty of nutritious and delicious foods to eat, as well. Because it’s what was available? Give me a break! Maybe skip a meal… I can almost guarantee you won’t be forced to fast all day due to lack of available health foods. I’m not saying you can’t have your cake (health), and eat it, too (Ben & Jerry’s, Pizza Delivery, etc…), but my recommendation would be to find a balance. I try to apply Pareto’s Principle to my food related decisions. I allow some wiggle room on 20% of my choices each day, and I nourish my body as best as I can the other 80% of the time. When we’re making 200 food related choices each day, it’s very, very difficult to be perfect (unless you’re my girlfriend, Sarah, who’s idea of cheating is having too many figs or dates). So, find a happy medium that works for you, and STICK TO IT!
Sarah: Keep it simple.
What should you eat?
Calvin: Eat LOTS of these 5 things - NUTS, SEEDS, fruits, VEGETABLES, and healthy meats - in their natural state (not roasted, salted, frozen, and shelved for months)
Sarah: Typically, you should avoid things that try to sell you on being healthy. If you think Cinnamon Toast Crunch is "part of a balanced breakfast" or chocolate milk is "A good source of calcium and protein" then you've been fooled by marketing. The foods that are actually good for you don't need to be labeled... everyone knows that spinach, almonds, chia seeds, mangos, and wild-caught salmon are packed full of nutrients! Also, avoid things labeled "low fat" or "zero sugar," as the bad stuff is what they add in its place!
What's the best ratio of carbs, fats and proteins?
Calvin: BALANCE is key, just as in every aspect of life. Choose healthy fats (fish, nuts seeds), carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), and proteins (meat and eggs), then eat a little of each one at each meal.
Sarah: Ditto. Different people may operate better, or get leaner with lower levels of carbs or fats, but it's always best to have a good balance. When in doubt, eat more protein!
Our take on pre and post workout nutrition:
Calvin: This is very important, especially if you are doing resistance training with intent to build muscle! You want to get a 2:1 ratio of carbs to proteins within a couple hours before and after weight lifting. The exact quantity depends on gender, size, age, goal, etc... but for the average guy, you're looking at 40 grams of protein and 80 grams of carbs... don't think of carbs as meaning candy - I'd prefer a sweet potato, oatmeal sweetened with honey, or some fruit!
Sarah: I'd recommend 20-30 grams of protein, along with 40-60 grams of carbs.
How many meals a day should you eat?
Calvin: How many nutritious meals do you have time to eat? I enjoy being able to snack, or graze, throughout the day. New science suggests that it does not matter if you eat twice, or six times a day - what matters is the quality and total quantity you're eating throughout the day.
Sarah: Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
The MOST IMPORTANT aspect of health:
Calvin: Your mindset. Your paradigm. Your point of view. Eat to live, not live to eat. Nutrients are a necessary. When you get your mind right, you're all set!
Sarah: Your environment. It's tough to be in a good mood when you're surrounded by people you don't like. It's difficult to be upset if you're on a beach with the ones you love. It's challenging to be fit and healthy when you keep pop tarts, cereal and nutrigrain bars in the cupboards, ice cream in the freezer, and orange juice in the fridge! We are what we eat, and we eat what we have readily available (hence the popularity of McDonald's)!
What's better, the Atkins diet, Paleo, Keto, or Whole 30?
Calvin: Any of them can be extremely healthy, if implemented properly, and even detrimental, if done improperly. Let's look at what they all have in common... they ask that you reduce added sugars to next to zero. Some of them are more extreme than others, and some allow certain things that others don't, but when you boil them all down - you just need to read the ingredients labels, and make sure you're not consuming added sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, maltodextrin, corn starch, etc.
Sarah: Paleo or Whole 30 would be my preferred, but the Whole 30 would be extremely difficult for most people to stick with for 3 months, so I'd recommend Paleo. I agree that you should look out for added sugars, but I don't believe you need to worry about naturally occurring sugars.
We hope these tips help you on your journey of self improvement!
Calvin and Sarah