Saturday, May 10, 2014

Overhauling the Body: Choosing a Diet

 Alan Cleaver Start diet today

Our understanding of a healthy human diet changes constantly. Diet theories abound. Should I use the low carb Paleo Diet, the no meat Vegan Diet, the Low Fat Diet, the Gluten Free Diet, the Blood Type Diet? Each diet theory claims to safely improve health and reduce weight. And, each diet theory warns of the health risks of the other diet strategies.

I decided to use common features from many different theories and to incorporate balanced nutrition with a program of moderation. The daily macronutrient breakdown for my diet is as follows:

2730 Calories
45% (307g) from Carbohydrates
30% (205g) from Protein
25% (76g) from Fat[1]

I limit saturated fats and cholesterol to always being below the recommended amounts:

Saturated Fats < 16g
Cholesterol < 200mg[2]

Documenting everything I consume is the only way I have found to keep my diet honest. Prior to keeping a record, I was certain that I was a healthy eater. I ate lots of fruit, low fat broiled meats like chicken breast and fish, some vegetables, and hardly any sweets (but lots of crackers and pretzels). The problem was not so much what I ate, but how much I ate and how severely lopsided my macronutrients were. When I started keeping track, I found that my carb intake was through the roof. I consumed excessive saturated fats and cholesterol. And, I didn’t take in enough protein.

The process of recording everything you eat is tedious, but there are numerous apps and internet resources available to make it a little less so. [3] Search the internet and find diet tracking resources that work for you. Shoot me a message if you want to know about the one I chose.

The foods included in my diet are fairly simple:

·     Dairy:  Skim Milk, Low Fat Cheeses, and Eggs
   Mostly egg whites and no more than one egg yolk per day.
·       Meat: Boneless Skinless Chicken/Turkey Breasts or Fish
All meats are broiled or baked.
·       Fruits, Nuts, and Vegetables: Any and all
Try to take in lots of leafy greens and be sure to eat a wide range of colors
·       Fats: Olive Oil
 I always substitute olive oil for butter, margarine, or other cooking oils
·       Grains: Whole Grains Only
·       Supplements:
Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D (for bone density)[4]
Fish Oil (healthy fat)[5]
Glucosamine/Chondroitin (for arthritis)[6]
Resveratrol (anti-aging)[7]
Pro Biotics (promotes gut health)[8]

I cleaned out my kitchen and removed any foods that aren’t included in the list above. I found that if I have unhealthy, delicious foods around, I will eat them 100% of the time.

Do not be a food Nazi! One stumbling block that gets in the way of any self-improvement plan is perfectionism. As humans, we are intrinsically imperfect and that is as it should be. Diet should be a lifestyle change. Set your goals for the long game, not a quick fix. If I meet my diet goals more days than not, then I am a success!


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