Nutrition 101

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

I have had a few requests from readers to gather my thoughts and form a sort of nutrition 101 set of rules and guidelines to eat by. I will give my top 5 tips today and finish it next week. I do want to preface this list with the fact that my rules are constantly evolving, they are different now than they were just a year ago, and they will probably be different next year. I am always reading, learning and evolving my thoughts. So here goes.

1. Eat REAL whole, unprocessed food.

  • If you couldn’t hunt, fish, pluck, grow, or ferment/culture the food, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
  • If it wasn’t food 100 years ago, it probably isn’t food today.
  • If it comes in a box or a plastic wrapper, it probably isn’t food, it is a food product. These are not the same thing, so learn to recognize that.
  • If it contains lots of industrial vegetable oil (soybean, safflower, sunflower, etc) and/or sugar/high fructose corn syrup, don’t eat it.

2. Eat food as close to it’s natural state as possible.

Examples:

  • meat, eggs and dairy from pastured/grass-fed animals
  • eat full fat versions of these foods for the greatest profile and absorption of nutrients
  • produce from local, seasonal, and sustainably grown sources
This is for Danny

This is for Danny

3. Eat every 3-4 hours.

  • This is not to “boost” your metabolism or any of that hocus pocus.
  • It is mainly to prevent overeating at meals, and consumption of foods that don’t follow rules 1 and 2.

4. Eat protein with every meal or snack.

  • Again, this isn’t to “boost” your metabolism, but regardless of goal, a higher protein diet has been shown to be more effective.
  • Builds more muscle and repairs damaged tissue when trying to gain mass.
  • Maintains muscle tissue when trying to lose mass.
  • Produces a higher Thermic Effect of Feeding, meaning it require more calories to digest protein than other foods.

5. Eat at least 1 full serving of vegetables and/or fruits every time you eat.

  • Just a simple way to reach that daily quota of 10+ servings of vegetables and fruits.
  • Increases amounts of powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to optimize health.

That wraps up today’s installment. Now some people might disagree and put rule 5 as rule 1, or vice versa, and in reality, it really doesn’t matter. As long as there are the tenets that you eat by most of the time, because you are allowed to eat brownies and white bread once in a while (you know that right?) then the order of the rules really doesn’t matter, it is simply semantics. Questions and comments welcome.

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Posted on June 11th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

12 Comments

  1. JC Says:

    Good ideas overall. I particularly like what you said about eating protein at every meal. Many do not realize how satiating protein can be especially if you are on a diet. It can really make adherence easy(er).

    I also like the idea: if you aren’t able to pick it, grow it, hunt it etc you probably shouldn’t consume it, however I still enjoy my cocoa puffs and white bread fairly frequently…

  2. Danny Says:

    “I love the smell of grass-fed beef in the morning…”

    Truer words never spoken.

  3. Nutrition 101 - Pt 2. : The Home of Brian St. Pierre Training Says:

    [...] those of you who missed it, I began a 2 part series about Nutrition 101 HERE. Today is a continuation of my top 10 rules, guidelines, tips, what have you. Do remember that even [...]

  4. Charlie Says:

    How do you feel about full fat strained yogurts such as Fage? I prefer the 0% one, the full fat is too creamy and loaded with fat. Are there more benefits to be had here in such cases when it comes to all dairy products. If you are getting alot of “good” fats through (organic eggs, advocados, walnuts/almonds/brazil nuts, fish oil, flax oil/seed, borage oil) would it be best to stay with reduced fat or skim milk, reduced fat cheese as well as cottage cheese? I do still drink whole chocolate milk post-training. I unsterdand these can be completely different things. Could it just be a gut health scenario along with some other minor benefits? Sorry so long, but its been a while Brian.

  5. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Charlie,

    My answer is… it depends. As a general rule I consume 2%, mainly due to availability. I have absolutely no issue with someone who is looking for general health/weight maintenance/weight gain consuming full fat versions, and I actually probably prefer it. For those people who are on strict calorie limits, low fat versions might come into play. You need fat, so don’t worry about it being loaded with fat. Olive oil is loaded with fat too, yet everyone raves about it. For more info on the importance of fat, check out Cass Forsythe’s blog, she is the fat expert. For more info on why full fat dairy, look into the Weston Price Foundation or wholehealthsource.blogspot.com. It’s not really gut health so much as proper nutrient profiles and absorption, effects on bone health, teeth health and structure, stuff like that.

    Yes Charlie, it has been much too long, when are you coming out to CP?

  6. Charlie Says:

    Let me know what days are good. I can get down as early as next week. But, I just took a week off as I was in Portland. No not your Portland. Portland, Oregon. Let me know what works. Any day, any time.

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