Nutrition is complex, confusing, and difficult to understand. Chances are good that it has confused you, as it has confused me. This has led us to our current situation. Competition is intense to see what strategies are best and to determine who is “right.” Nutrition has become a marketing battle, which is unfortunate. Today, the best marketer is the nutrition authority, and the best salesman is the most educated. Yet, this is not always the case, as the most educated are quiet.
There are many factors that contribute to health and performance, and they are exercise, nutrition, sleep, and work. They determine our health, well-being, and performance. Nutrition is a large contributor to our health and combined with sleep forms the foundation that all other qualities depend on. It is difficult to stay healthy and perform well without a foundation of quality nutrition.
Nutrition impacts the way we live and perform. It is not about the next two-week goal, the competition crash diet, or the amount of food consumed to make your weight goal. These examples prove that nutrition is confusing for many people. Nonetheless, it is time to change our perspective.
The world is in poor health, and several of our problems are due to poor nutrition and a poor understanding of it. Our poor understanding has left us without any idea of what, or how, to eat. The common advice of eating more healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole-grain carbohydrates do not work.
Quick changes are a sure way to disaster. The weight loss goal for the wedding, the vacation, or the family pictures will fail to produce sustainable results. Eating until stuffed for the bodybuilding show, the sports competition, or gaining a few pounds will not result in lasting body weight increases. These examples are not all bad; what is bad is how we are told to achieve them. Short-term changes do not lead to long-term results. Quality is neglected in these examples, and quality matters.
Goals should have a positive impact on the way we eat. If goals are not aligned with quality nutrition, they are detrimental and need change. Nutrition supports and benefits our lives, and we should eat according to this idea.
The important thing is that we only get one body, and it is ours to care for or to neglect. Quality nutrition is a great way to nourish our body, and poor nutrition is a way to neglect it. Quality means we eat to fuel our body, and provide it with what is needed to function. Every choice is made through this lens. These choices show results after years of implementation, and they carry long-term benefits and consequences.
The ingredient list is the focus of nutrition. Food ingredients dictate our food choices. Health experts have focused on nutrition facts while neglecting the ingredient list. We function best when we eat foods with a short ingredient list, and it is best to get close to one ingredient. The more ingredients, the further away it is from its natural state, and more ingredients mean more processing and additives to food. The goal is to consume food in its most natural state. More is not better, especially in food.
Countless methods and opinions exist, but the amount of ingredients is a key aspect. It is difficult to argue that food with more ingredients is better for your body. Real food has few ingredients, and few ingredients are good for digestion and absorption. We have the choice, so choose foods with few ingredients.
Continuums exist and explain many things in life. Aspects of nutrition relate to continuums. Things are better when they are in the middle, and avoid extremes. It is best to eat foods with fewer ingredients and keep your total amounts toward the low end of the range. The amount of food you eat should also lie near the middle; eating until satisfied, and not stuffed or starving.
It seems that we eat to get something now and disregard the future. We eat for the six-pack abs or heavy squat numbers, and this is a problem. When we eat for these goals, we neglect quality food. Bad things happen when we neglect quality. Ignoring quality might get you to a short term goal, but it is not worth the long term consequences. Food makes us who we are, and we do not have time to neglect our choices.
Eat to live, and eat as your future depends on it – because it does.