Our Western culture bombards us with hundreds of decisions every day. From the clothes we wear, the products we use - to the food we eat. Walk into any grocery store in the US and you will be overwhelmed at the food choices in front of you. Organic vs. non-organic in the produce section; crackers with and without hydrogenated oils; white bread vs. whole grains; several dozen cheeses; chips, cookies, beer, meat - the list is endless.
And there are as many diets out there to match the myriad of food choices available.
So how do you choose? How do you know that when you go into a store you will come out with food that will properly fuel your body according to your needs? What's your motivation to eat right? Is it to loose weight? Or to feel better? Or perform better? Or longevity?
The good news is that if you fuel yourself to feel better, longevity should go hand in hand.
It's relatively simple to do this - there's just a few "rules" you can follow to apply healthy living. You can feel good. You should feel good.
1. Eat whole foods.
It's that simple. Throw out EVERYTHING in your pantry and cupboards that contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, additives you can't pronounce, etc. This includes all packet mixes (salad dressings, cool aid, gravy, taco seasonings, etc.). What might be saving you time in the kitchen now is actually taking time off your life later. We're talking long term health here - not instant gratification.
2. Drink water.
Eliminate calorie drinks. Lemonades, juices, soda, beer - all of those drinks have empty calories in them. If you're drinking anything other than water during the day - you could be adding on 200-300 extra calories that have no direct benefit to fueling your body. Not to mention that most drinks nowadays are using high fructose corn syrup which is like putting low grade gasoline in a high octane sports car.
3. Eat high quality ingredients.
There is a difference between Jennie O's dark meat deli turkey and naturally smoked, oven roasted turkey breast meat. There's also a huge difference between the different pastas available. And breads? You'd be surprised at how many breads contain high fructose corn syrup high up in the ingredient list. Check it out next time your in the grocery store. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on the different food quality options available. Read as much as you can stand on this subject and start applying those practices to everyday.
4. Avoid fast food. Like the plague.
I know, I know. It's cheap and fast. But you don't know what's going into that burger and fries - not to mention where the food was sourced from. And the calorie count? Way higher than the average meal you'd have at home. And if you get cheese on that hamburger your not only increasing the calorie count, you're also increasing the saturated fat content, which could lead to heart disease and other health related illness further down the line.
Growing up I always struggled with my weight. The one way I found to combat it was exercise. But even with exercise I still struggle to keep the weight off. And being a sport where power to weight ratio is directly related to your success - it's just something that can't be ignored. Yet it is rarely talked about amongst my peers. It's almost as if food is a taboo subject and as something you can control in a sport of many unknowns - simply silly not to take a thorough approach toward.
I've decided to take matters into my own hands. To really take a complete approach toward nutrition and fuel. You are what you eat - and your life depends on it. I'm assembling a network of food experts - from schooled nutritionists to cycling professionals to figure out the best way to fuel myself.