What is a good diet really?
That really is a hell of a question! We live in a society where a tremendous amount of information is available with just a click. We get showered by news, books, articles and talks about diets, calories, macronutrients, hormonal levels, toxicity and all this sort of things and it’s very easy to get confused.
I want to start talking about the concept itself of diet. We often associate the concept of “diet” to a bunch of rules that tell us what to eat, what not to eat and when to eat it. I often see people getting all excited when they lose weight with the “diet X” and after a couple of weeks they are coming back to the way they were eating before gaining all the weight back with interests.
That should tell us that a complete revolution of our eating habits is often not the best choice to follow in order to achieve health, fitness and happiness. I just want now to shortly tell you my personal experience and what I often see happening with clients that were given a diet to follow.
During my young age I was quite overweight. I didn’t really care about that till my puberty when, as every adolescent, I wanted to go out, have fun and look good. So I realised I had to change something in order to look the way I wanted to. The first thing that came up my young mind was “I want to lose weight so I just need to eat less”.
So I started to eat less and less. It worked at the start, but It stopped working soon and I was just feeling tired and grumpy all the times, often ending up having a massive cheat meal like pizza and ice cream to stop my craving.
I soon realised that I needed to exercise and eat more proteins, so I started doing that. I cut off most of carbs and I saw some benefits, but again for a very short period of time. My energy levels were low, I looked very skinny and my skin was soft and floppy at that time. I was 17 when I started to deeply study the science of nutrition and the biology of the human body.
I was reading every sort of article and posting on different fitness blogs. I ended up taking all kinds of supplements and trying the most drastic diet approaches like ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting, low fat diet you name it!
Results were often poor. Even though I looked lean, my muscles were not growing and I always had that little of belly fat that annoyed me so much. Even spending over 400£ a month in supplements, I was not achieving the results all these products were promising. At that point I realised I needed to know exactly how the human body works in order to change it the way I wanted to.
And that’s where my journey started for real. In just a couple of years, with the new knowledge I could put on a lot of solid muscle mass and look great. I was mainly focusing on calories and macronutrients, counting every single gram of food I was eating. I even started doing fitness modelling at a minor level and I thought I knew everything I needed.
All of a sudden something very bad happened: my stomach was giving me troubles and I was bleeding inside, becoming anemic. In not much time I had to undertake a bowel surgery, because my small intestine was too inflamed and they had to cut a piece off. Since then, I started looking to food as a medicine, trying to understand the complex balance that keeps every human alive and functioning.
What I discovered was just amazing and I want now to share part of it with you, hoping that may help you live better, look better and feel great as I do now.
Real food and dead food
Let’s start from what real food is. We are surrounded by every kind of packaged glittering food that looks as nice as a golden ticket for the chocolate factory. Shakes of all sort, designer bars, zero fat products, vitamins enriched cereals and iron boosted bread are all over our faces when we go to the groceries shop.
Almost 90% of the food that is available to us have no season, lasts for ages and tastes great…isn’t that amazing?! Well I got news for you: it is really not! How come with all the advanced scientific techniques and researches we are getting fatter and fatter, sicker and sicker, tired and stressed? I’ve got an answer for that but first I want to give you my definition of food.
Food is nothing but energy and information: energy because our digestion is supposed to break it down and gather sources of energy out of it. Information because every food, when broken down, have a different reaction on our system, stimulate different hormonal and biochemical reaction.
So how can energy and information make you feel tired? Did you ever ask yourself that question? Well think about it, it might mean that in order to break down the food it required more energy than what that food is actually giving to you.
Or on the other end it may be that the information given by the substances present in what you’ve just eaten gave the body a signal of danger. And this is really common in processed foods and commercially farmed fruit, vegetables and meats.
In order to understand food, we need to look back at its source: the soil. Almost 95% of all the food that is commercialised comes from a soil that has been showered with pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and all sort of chemicals. In addition to that, animals are fed with the remains of what farmer can’t sell or process, injected with hormones, antibiotics and locked in cages where they literally live in their own poop.
Now ask yourself the question “will that food or these animals be healthy?”. Of course the answer is NO. So farmers have to use drugs and chemicals on their animals and plants so that they can survive this denaturated soil and environment we created. If that is not enough the food comes out so poor in nutrients that food processing industries got forced by government to “enrich” the food with artificial vitamins and minerals.
It’s just a tricky cycle. And every time you eat something that comes in a box, a can, and it’s shiny and labeled you are putting inside your body that kind of “bad energy and bad information”. No surprise doctors are always busy and we spend more in medicines than what we spend in holiday!
What is nutrition?
We are used to know nutrition as the amount of macronutrients(fat, proteins and carbs) and micronutrients(vitamins and minerals), and that’s great but is far from the end of it. Who gets stuck in this calorie counts and think the micronutrients deficiency can be fixed just by adding a multivitamin in the morning is far away from optimal health and will sooner or later get victim of some sort of illness or disease…exactly as I did.
We tend to forget that food is by nature something that was alive. Every food from the time it dies stores a certain amount of life energy. I’m not talking from a spiritual or new age perspective but we can see this as an electric charge. Real food deteriorates. Think about fruit and vegetables, or meat. Unless refrigerated, won’t last a couple of days.
When we see foods that last more than a year, it means they contain some sort of preservatives and stabilisers, and these compounds are far from friendly for out body.
When it comes to food we need to understand that organic farmed food has a dramatic higher value of real nutrition than commercially farmed food and the higher price is worth. When somebody says that can’t afford to eat healthy I always say that they cannot afford to get sick. I’ve been there and I know what that means.
My principles of a good diet
1) Buy real food and cook it
I explained what real food is already. Buy certified organic products and possibly cook the food yourself. If you are a busy person be aware that cooking the food and bring it with you at work will cost you less than buying a take away. You can cook bigger portions and split them in two or three meals to be eaten the next day.
With just this little trick you will see the level of toxicity in your body decreasing and the energy and vitality will start coming back. You definitely will start losing fat because when you ingest less toxins and acids your body needs less and less fat to protect himself from them.
2) Listen to your body
Every time you eat try to do it in a calm environment and take the time to chew the food. Do not watch the news, drive or have stressful thoughts while you eat because that will shut down your digestion. Take ten minutes after each meal and see how does that feel inside your stomach. If that made you feel bloated, tired, gave you constipation or sent you straight to the toilet it might be that was not the best option for you.
Usually dairy products and gluten may give these side effects in most of people. Also only eat if you are hungry and never avoid to eat when you are. Always remember that you are unique and what could work for a friend not necessarily would work for you too.
3) Balance your ph
I will never stop stating that our typical diet is way too acid. Foods like meat, dairy, grains, alcohol, coffee are all acids and bring our body out of balance. We need to eat an equal if not bigger amount of fresh green raw vegetables every day to keep our digestion functioning and our hormones in balance.
You can check my previous articles to more deeply understand what the PH balance is and how it affects the human body.
4) Do not overstress about food
To try to achieve the perfect diet is as pointless as trying to look perfect like a statue. Always remember that you are human and even though you skip a meal or you go out and have few drinks and a burger that won’t dramatically affect your general health if only done occasionally. Treat yourself from time to time with something you like, even if not organic. Keep balance in your life and reduce the stress around you.
You will often see that stressing too much about anything will result in craving for sugars, alcohol or cigarettes because if the high level of cortisol in your blood. Once again try to be in peace with yourself and listen to what your body is saying to you he’s never wrong!
I want to conclude saying that everyone should undertake their personal journey in life and, since we all have to eat, extra attention and time should be spent learning how food affects our body and our life. I have plenty of sources and information available to share with you, so if you want to go a bit more in depth with certain topics, do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to forward everything to you.