Josh Hemann- BS, Pn1, CSCS
Nutrition can be a very complicated animal to tackle head on. It is the most significant factor that you have control over when it comes to long term health. The best way to approach nutrition is to simplify it as much as possible. Calorie count, macronutrient ratios, food timing, fasting, and tapering become overwhelming for most people who lead normal lives. These are three simple tactics that worked wonders for me. No guarantees, but perhaps trying out these simple strategies one at a time will produce results like you’ve never experienced before.
- Minimize Alcohol– If you notice, I am not recommending you eliminate alcohol, if you enjoy it. About 8 years ago, I dramatically reduced my alcohol intake from heavy drinking (5-10 drinks) 3 times per week, to lightly drinking (1-2 drinks) once a week. Over the course of about 6 weeks, I dropped 15 pounds of fat, had more energy at work with less anxiety, and found myself being much more active on the weekends. I grew tired of the binge drinking taking over my weekends. Inhibition flew out the window: I made poor food choices, I overate, and all I wanted to do was recover on the couch with all my spare time. What a waste! Currently, I may indulge in an adult beverage, but never to the point where I know it is going to influence the following day. If I drink, I never do it without the thoughts of tomorrow on my mind. This was the single most significant change I have ever made for my own personal health. If you need a pep-read on the long term effects of alcohol, check out this article on its side effects. http://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body
- Eliminate Gluten– Unknowingly, and for several years, gluten was punishing my body in ways I never would have associated with gluten intake. My muscles would sometimes ache for no apparent reason, I suffered from headaches on a regular basis, and I would find myself with brain fog (which I thought was due to dehydration). After going through a full physical, and speaking with my doctor, he recommended I try a gluten free diet. Since going gluten free, the brain fog has lifted, no more body aches, and I haven’t had an unprovoked headache since! My quality of life has greatly improved since making this change, not to mention, elimination of gluten means elimination of almost all processed carbs! After making this change, another 5lbs of fat came off without any change to my exercise routine! Here is a great article on signs of possible gluten intolerance, and if this tactic may be right for you: https://www.glutenfreeschool.com/2014/10/07/signs-of-gluten-sensitivity/
- Switch from Coffee to Green Tea– This change was the perhaps the most surprising to me. For me, waking up before the birds meant 16-24oz of black coffee while trying to clear the cobwebs prior to heading to work. It did the trick, until about 10:00am, when I would hit a brick wall. I would reach for another cup, then again in the midafternoon! My coffee consumption was through the roof! I thought switching to a less caffeinated green tea would spell misery during what would surely be the longest day of my life at work. Was I ever wrong! First off, green tea has a much more pleasant taste than coffee, in my opinion. Second, I didn’t really feel like I was lacking a caffeine bump during the a.m. hours. I seemed to have MORE energy, and a clearer mind! I am always trying new flavors, and look forward to waking up to enjoy my morning cup-o-tea before the sun comes up. I have also noticed that I am sleeping far more soundly, which leads to a clearer mind the entire following day. I am not promising you will feel the same, but here is an article that breaks down the benefits of each. http://www.menshealth.co.uk/food-nutrition/coffee-or-green-tea-which-is-better