Invest in your body with every bite you take. TFW Portland
Food is the most valuable performance enhancing aspect of an athlete's self-care. Food is critical, beneficial, and provides compounding benefits the more you apply strong principles to your eating. Food is an asset, a tool for improvement and (if done right) food can be joyous. Food is your slight edge, something that accumulates your vitality like a physiological bank account.
Food is health. Food is Life. Food is you.
The ideal mindset around food is one of eager curiosity. There are primarily 20 types of food that should be in your diet on a daily and weekly basis. When I say "diet" I mean it in the driest denotation of the word: what you subsist on. I subsist on (therefore I am) 85% organic meats, veggies, fruits and dairy products, as well as 15% happy hour (with bourbon). When I say there are 20 foods that should be in your diet, these are the 20 most nutrient-dense types of foods. They provide the greatest mix of fat, protein, carbohydrates, as well as minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients.
Diet = what you subsist on.
YOUR nutrition plan = what you would like your specific macro-nutrient ratios and their sources to be.
A meal plan is how you get those sources in a way that is timely and tasty. The more tasty and timely your meal plan, the easier it is to stay on your nutrition plan. The more adherent you are to your nutrition plan, the greater benefits you reap and the better you are at assessing the efficacy of your chosen plan.
If a plan is perfect for your body but you adhere to it less than 80% of the time, you may never get the benefits from it. Worse, you will not know which variables to change to make it better. You have to adhere well to the wrong plan in order to find out for sure whether or not it is right for you.
The most useful paradigm around food is to have an "approach" mentality, as opposed to a "resist" or "retreat" mentality. "Approach" just means that food should be sought after as a tool to build your vitality. Imagine you are Pac-man running around collecting pellets each day. Instead of pellets, you have to get 6 servings of veggies, 4 servings of lean protein, 4 servings of carbohydrates and at least 2L of water.
Your goal is to do whatever you have to do to grab these foods and put them in your belly. Each piece of broccoli you consume reduces your risk for cancer. Each slice of steak or chunk of fermented soy builds up your muscles and connective tissues and regulates hormones. Every avocado you eat improves your good cholesterol levels, provides long-term energy and gives a boost to your brain power. You are literally investing in your body with each bite and like all investments, they need to be compounded over time to reach the level of benefits that completely change your life.
Food should be something loving that you give yourself, your family and your friends. Food heals, reconstitutes and rebuilds life. The foods on the 20 list, the super shake recipes, and just about anything that you make yourself is a precious gift. Foods not on the list are still food, or maybe just food shaped, but they are not as rewarding to consume. If you first stock up on your quota of top 20's, then you can add food on top of it and you will still be doing yourself a great service!
With all that as a given, where do you begin this amazing journey of re-creation?
Start with the 5 habits. If these are challenging, adjusting to specific macros will be difficult. Once you have these in your pocket, you can start getting down into the nitty-gritty.