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5 Healthy Habits and Superfood-Based Nutrition

There are five simple habits combined with superfood recommendations that can naturally lead to:

  1. Improvements in calorie control
  2. Optimal nutrient timing and;
  3. Better food selection

The Five Habits:

  1. Eat slowly and stop when you are 80% full
  2. Eat protein dense foods with each meal
  3. Eat vegetables with each meal
  4. For fat loss, eat the majority of starchy carbohydrates after exercise
  5. Consume a balance of healthy fats daily

1. Eat slowly and stop when you are 80% full
The communication between the brain and gut is slow. By taking 15-20 minutes (minimum) to eat your meal, you optimize:

  • Appetite cues
  • Digestion
  • Workout/exercise performance
  • Meal enjoyment
  • Sleep (if you are eating close to bed)

2. Eat protein dense foods with each meal
Protein has the greatest thermic effect of the three macronutrients. It helps with satiety, increasing metabolism, reducing body fat and improving muscle mass and recovery after exercise.

Men should aim for two portions/meal (40-60g). Women should aim for one portion/meal (20-30g).

A portion is about the size of the palm of your hand.

3. Eat vegetables with each meal
Vegetables are an essential source of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients (anti-inflammatory chemicals essential for optimal physiological functioning).

Vegetables also have a high alkaline load, that is important to balance the acidity from protein and grains.

Alkalinity is also important for healthy bones and optimal muscle metabolism.

Aim for 10 servings (1 serving= 1 cup of veggies or ½ cup of fruit) daily.

4. For fat loss, eat the majority of starchy carbohydrates after exercise

Carbohydrates aren’t bad. On the on the contrary, they are essential of for energy. The key with carbohydrates is to:

  • Focus on unprocessed sources (e.g. sweet potatoes, red potatoes, plantains and whole grains)
  • Save most of them until after exercise

This is not a low carbohydrate diet, but a controlled carbohydrate approach.

For muscle gain: Consume carbohydrates during and within three hours after exercise as well as with each meal.

For fat loss: Consume carbohydrates within 1-2 hours after exercise and focus on vegetables with each meal, i.e. minimize intake of grains and starchy vegetables.

5. Consume a balance of healthy fats daily
About 30% of your diet should come from fat, with ⅓ saturated, ⅓ monounsaturated and ⅓ polyunsaturated.

Saturated: Animal fat (e.g. eggs, dairy, meat, butter, cheese) and coconut oil
Monounsaturated: Macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, tahini, pumpkin seeds, avocados and olive oil
*Polyunsaturated:
Omega 3- Fish oil, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, chia seeds and algae oils
Omega 6- Safflower, Sunflower, canola, organic soy (not refined soybean oil), peanut

* The ideal ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 to minimize inflammation is less than 4:1. The Standard American Diet

( S A D) is upwards towards 20:1, which is likely a strong risk factor for the chronic inflammatory diseases that plague our society.

Superfood check list
Superfoods are nutrient dense and energy balanced. These include:

Proteins

  • Grass fed beef or lamb
  • Wild salmon
  • Cage free eggs
  • Organic Greek yogurt
  • Whey or plant protein supplements depending on activity levels

Vegetables and Fruits

  • Spinach, chard and kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage)
  • Berries
  • Apples and oranges

Other Carbohydrates

  • Beans and lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Steel cut oats

Good Fats

  • Raw, unsalted nuts
  • Avocados
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fish oil
  • Flax or hemp oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Grass fed beef

Drinks/Other

  • Green tea- liberal consumption
  • Raw cacao (also 70% or greater dark chocolate)
  • Black coffee 2-3 cups
  • Red wine in moderation

References
Berardi, J., & Andrews, R. (2015). The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Precision Nutrition Inc.

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About the Author

Dr. Geoff Lecovin

Naturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/

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