Little changes over time create massive improvements in overall health. I have been using this approach to Nutrition for many years as a realistic way to adjust your diet and lifestyle without diving head first into the "Diet" abyss. One path towards substantial change is done through substituting current food items in your menu with a higher fiber, lower sugar, better fat containing food.
I have devised a list of small trades that you can make today!
1) Zucchini not Grains.
Pasta is a staple in the majority of American households becasue it is very cheap and creates the illusion of satiety. The problem with the majority of pasta is that the grains which are processed to make them is extremely inflammatory. Inflammation due to gluten allergies can create skin problems, joint aches, IBS and a host of other problems. Pasta from processed grains also has a significant effect on your resting blood sugar. A great alternative to the nightly Pasta meal is to use Zucchini instead. Zucchini, when cut with a julian peeler creates long spaghetti noodles which can be boiled or sautéed. Cooking the Zucchini is simple and actually quite Faster than traditional pasta. Al dente goodness mixed with your favorite red sauce or perhaps a shrimp and garlic butter sauce is absolutely perfect!
2) Bison over Beef.
Meat... Its what's for dinner. Burgers, steaks, stir-fry, these are all grab and go staples in the store. I know as a parent on a budget, I head straight for the ground beef in the store when I have to come up with a quack dinner idea. Research has shown that today's modern beef industry is not unlike others, maximum profit in the easiest way possible. Maximum profit in beef cattle means sticking the animals in feed lots prior to slaughter and feeding them corn and grains. These are the same food products that have been shown to create inflammation and disease in humans... and we are feeding it to OUR food! Moreover, these cows in the feed lot are injected with a host of anti-biotics to ward off infection and disease. These injections have been shown to decrease OUR resistance to disease and certain bacteria. Bison, on the other hand, are much less GMO, much more free range, much more organic, much less stuffed with anti-biotics. When you consume a meat that is grass fed and organic you are consuming a higher quality fat, higher quality protein, and less susceptible to potential disease or inflammation. Bison can be purchased widely in the same cuts and ground form that you find standard beef. The switch is simple.. No need to even change the recipes you love.
3) Coconut oil beats Canola oil.
Speaking of High Quality fats everyone should cut out the use of canola oil in their daily diets. In the 1940's, chemists created canola oil out of corn which made a cheap crop even more valuable. Once again, its about maximizing profit and decreasing cost. Canola oil is extremely unstable when heated and has been repeatedly shown to produce carcinogenic byproducts when used in cooking. Trading up for Coconut oil is and easy way to get a higher quality fat which is easier to work off during training than the ladder. Coconut oil is great tasting. For years I have cooked with it in every meal, breakfast to dinner. The light, Clean taste does not leave your food too oily and will not upset your stomach like canola oil will. Consuming more Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in coconut oil will help lower the risk of heart disease, the #1 killer in the US.
4)Eggs not Oats.
Power Breakfasts are a must. The adage "the most important meal of the day" is no joke. Setting your metabolism up for success in the morning will help keep you level throughout the day and less dependent on stimulants to keep you going throughout the day. Changing your breakfast habits is as simple as adding more protein and fat and cutting out carbohydrates. Carbohydrates like oatmeal, juices, and smoothies in the morning boost your blood sugar and therefore your insulin levels and inevitably lead to the 10am starvation feeling. Additionally you are much more likely to begin the roller coaster ride of hormonal changes when you consume carbohydrates in the morning. Substituting more protein in the form of Canadian bacon (lower fat) and Eggs along with healthy fats like avocado or nuts are a much better alternative. Protein and fats are pure brain and muscle fuel which will help you crush your day at work and then train hard in the afternoon.
5)Almond Butter over Peanut Butter.
Peanut butter sandwiches are the best... I mean really... Not only are they the best comfort food in the world but if you are trying to add calories to your diet in the off chance that you are like me and chronically skinny, they rule. But what about trading out the Peanut butter for Almond butter? Almond Butter is higher in fiber, lower in added sugar and contain a more balanced fat profile than peanut butter. Overall this is a great substitution to a daily staple with great health benefits. I cant speak to the jam or honey you put on the sandwich but at least you can feel good about the base!
So many more small tweaks to your current pantry can yield great changes over time. If you are to look at every meal you eat and see how you can add more fiber, less sugar, more protein, better fats, then surely you can find simple ways to trade up. Optimal performance is only realized after you have attained optimal nutrition. Food is fuel , treat it as such.
Piked Push Ups
Cossack (side) Lunges
**using 1 Dumbbell and single arm
10 Press (per arm)
10 Bent Over row (per arm)
10 Burpee Chest to Bar
3- Push Press
(From rack or ground, your call)
10 Dumbbell Power Clean
5 Chest TO Bar Pull Up
2X :30 @ each
High Knee Jump Rope
One Legged Burpee
Side Plank Knee TO Elbow
Hand Stand Push Ups
Toes TO Bar
Burpee Broad Jumps
**Rest as needed between couplets. Hit them hard.
Banded Hip Activation
Banded Good Morning
7 Min Quality Warm Up
10 Single Leg Medicine ball Up and overs (each Leg
10 Barbell Bent Over row
10 Medicine Ball Sit UP
10 Barbell Romanian Deadlift
10 Medicine Ball Russian Twist
**take 5 minutes to pick a partner, and work up to Deadlift weight for workout.
**spend 3 minutes practicing on the rope.
14 Min AMRAP
2 Deadlift 335/250
1 Legless Rope Climb
**partner does entire round, tags and P2 begins a round