New year, new resolution. You know the drill: resolve to do something new that will make us better than before. Sometimes we resolve to not do something (don't eat sugar). Sometimes we resolve to add a positive behavior (eat more fruits and vegetables).
Bottom line, people often resolve to eat better and exercise more.
According to Statista, 37% of people polled have resolved to eat better in 2018 (another 37% have resolved to exercise more). You can see the article here.
I am skeptical of resolutions and I have data behind my doubt: According to The Huffington Post only eight percent of people keep their resolutions and U.S. News and World Report says 80% of resolutions fail.
However, even though I'm not a big fan of quick fixes or short term programs, there is a value in this "bootcamp" approach. Each time you make a resolution or partake in a finite program you learn a huge amount of new fitness and nutrition information. Unfortunately, you don't continue to do EVERYTHING you learned either because it's hard to remember everything or it's too much all at once.
Fortunately, you DO end up adding one or two new things to your nutritional repertoire.
That is very powerful! That's how a habit is created!
So, as you set off to improve your health this year, I have a few tips to help:
1. Be careful of current/new information; does it have roots in something older and more researched or is it a fad?
Bone broth, organ meat and resistant starch (prebiotic fiber) are in the news right now. They are also something our ancestors would have eaten.
Grain free is also in the news but not necessarily "new". The grains our ancestors ate looked like grains. They were small, hard kernels that would have taken time to chew and grind with our molars. Our ancestors probably ate a few raw grains as they occasionally came across them in their search for food.
Conversely, modern day breads have been ground, processed and refined to be more palatable and easy to chew; some melt in your mouth. In turn, we are able to consume massive amounts (and, as Americans, we do).
In short, the great thing about grains is their amount of insoluble fiber and dense amount of nutrients. A 1/4 cup of wheat berries has 6 grams of fiber. A slice of whole wheat bread isn't the same.
Gluten free is a band wagon I rode for a bit. Products labeled "gluten free" are packaged, processed products. If you have issues with gluten it makes sense to go gluten free. Be careful to take gluten out of your diet, not to look for substitutes. You may find your gut has more trouble with the gluten free alternatives (probably due to soy and corn).
Fat free is an older fad but I repeatedly find people who can't let it go. Our brains need fat. Choose fats that haven't been changed from their original form. Grass fed butter, not margarine. Olive oil, not canola oil.
2. Try to think of your resolutions in the long term. It's great to have a restart but don't think you've failed or cheated if your not following a plan 100%. 80% is still a success. 80% has never been a failing, not even close.
Slow, gradual changes become permanent changes. Fast immediate changes aren't usually sustainable.
3. Think of adding nutrient dense foods versus removal and deprivation. Don't worry so much about calories, pick foods that are naturally high in good fat, fiber and protein...and dare I say carbohydrates.
Side note here: carbohydrates are not bad. Carbohydrates does not equal grains. Think: fruits, vegetables!!!
Choose: Avocados, nuts, seeds, organic pasture raised eggs, organic grass fed beef, local organic seasonal produce as much as possible. Choose food that doesn't come from a company but does come from a farmer or rancher.
Good luck and one last point:
4. If you make a mistake and eat something you're trying not to eat, make the next meal better and move on. It's just food and it's not against the law and you didn't blow anything! Think marathon, not sprint!