Eat food, not too much, MOSTLY PLANTS


The above advice is on the cover of Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food: an Eater's Manifesto. I really appreciate an artful oversimplification. (Buddhism in three sentences: Everything is Connected. Everything Changes. Pay Attention. Just because I'm a personal trainer doesn't mean I can't think!) But let us stay on track.

Eat food

Most of what the grocery store sells is not food, so simple guidance like this makes sense. By not food, I mean to say that 99% of the contents of a supermarket is bereft of nutrition that the human body has any use for. It sounds like a lot, but when you mentally picture isle after isle of boxed, frozen, preserved, processed, refined or my personal favorite "fortified" products, the ratio seems right. If it isn't out of the ground or off an animal (produce section, butchers block) it isn't food. It may look like food, may be food shaped, but isn't food. There countless articles, studies, and books written on the destructiveness of the western diet, but sum it up with eat food. Not anything else.

Eating organic is great for many reasons. The bottom line is that Organic products are nutrient dense and contain fewer toxins. Nutrient-dense meaning the nutrients can be concentrated anywhere between 60% and 3000% more in an organic vegetable than in a commercially raised vegetable. Another bonus is that the industrial agri-business process includes many petrochemicals and toxins that migrate into the food. These migrate into your body and the liver is forced to deal with them. There are 10,000 or more substances in the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) list, many of which are not that safe. What your liver fails to catch your immune system will be mobilized against. This can be stressful to the body.

Water is food, too. Water has resurfaced as an important factor in diet in the many years and for good reason. Water makes up 75% of the body and 85% of brain tissue. Your brain can demonstrate reduced performance with as little as 1% loss of water. Half your body weight in water (in ounces) is a good benchmark, but a great rule of thumb is to check your urine. Clear is hydrated and the darker in color your urine is, the more water your body is asking for. I salt my water (salt isn't scary, it's a mineral like any other. Our body needs it. It is used as a preservative in many foods, but since you're not eating boxed or packaged food anymore, you'll need to put salt into your diet) with Celtic or Himalayan sea salt. A pinch of salt can't be tasted but adds tremendous body or texture to the water. Tastes great!

Not too much

The calorie is an outdated metric. It's a number that can be measured, so scientists think it is key to tracking. Once you have cleared the garbage food out of your diet, you're left with delicious and nutritious food your body craves. If you are eating good food, with appropriate ratios your blood sugar should be well managed and you should be leaning up. Counting calories come in last as a means to monitor body composition and lose or gain weight.

Mostly Plants 

I believe this to mean by volume. You'll need to eat a lot of plants. The paleo diet is a great diet to pull from. I have success and I use some dairy products. The only clean diets that may represent a struggle are those who are vegetarians and vegans.

Any training routine supported by eating quality foods is set up to succeed. You simply cannot trade food for exercise and hope to maintain a long life of vitality. Whether you want to be strong, fast, lean or all of the above, eating is the key to success.

Here are some key points:

  • If it's white, don't eat it! The three white devils are white flour, white sugar and milk that is pasteurized and homogenized. If you consume dairy products, go for organic as well as products that are full fat cream. You can find yogurts that already have the lactose pre-digested.
  • Avoid the white devils if at all possible!
  • If you can't pronounce a word on the label, do not eat it. Your liver will thank you!
  • If it sweet but not freshly squeezed juice it is sugar water. Do not drink it!

Choose Produce and meats in this order:

1) Certified Organic Produce/ Certified Organic Free Range

2) Organic

3) Locally Farmed/Free Range Farm

4) Commercial Raised Hormone Free

5) Commercially Raised or "Natural" produce/meats

Other suggestions:

  • Season foods with 100% unprocessed sea salt. The best is Celtic, followed by New Zealand where heavy metal toxicity is currently the lowest.
  • Drink enough clean water (without chlorine, if possible) to have mostly clear urine. Adding a pinch of sea salt will replace lost electrolytes.
  • Eat right for your metabolic type.
  • Follow a good clean diet 80% of the time and your body will absorb the 20% left over.

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