KEEPING DIET SIMPLE GOES LONG WAY

"Gluten Free," "Paleo," "Lactose Free," "Low Fat," "Fat free" - these are all common, yet confusing terms that can make food and nutrition a bit overwhelming.

Have you noticed that just about every few months a new food fad arises? How about all of the food labels that compete for your attention at the grocery store? Just because something is labeled "fat-free" or "gluten free" doesn't mean that it is generally good. How do you choose what's right for you?

I am going to tell you what I tell all of my clients: keep it simple. Keeping it simple goes a long way in most aspects of life, especially when it comes to eating healthy foods.

When it comes to food, these are the four magic ingredients that really matter:

1.Protein, these are amino acids that are essential in life. Protein feeds your muscles, skin and hair. Protein is found in foods such as meats, fish, nuts, grains, beans and vegetables.

2.Carbohydrates, which have a bit of a bad rep for making people "gain weight," which isn't entirely true. Carbs are found in everything that we eat and they are broken down in our body to provide energy. The key is to eat the right kinds of carbs. Foods like fruits and veggies are pure or "good" carbs. Other complex carbs include grains and sweet potatoes. Simple or refined carbs such as those found in pastries and white bread are the ones you want to stay away from.

3.Fat. Believe it or not, fats are essential to weight loss. Healthy fats are abundant
in peanut butter, nuts, avocados and good oils such as olive and coconut oil. Hydrogenated oils such as lard are typically used in fast food restaurants and are about the worst thing that you can put in your body. The key is to stick to moderate amounts of good fats and avoid bad fats at all costs.

4.Fiber is nature's way of keeping your body clean. Great sources of fiber include leafy green vegetables such as spinach. Fiber can also be found in grains and roots, such as sweet potatoes.

So how much of these nutrients should you eat? The proper amount varies from person to person - there is no universal formula. When it comes to your body, only you and your nutritionist can decide what works best for you. One of the first things I do when meeting with clients is measure their muscle mass. Muscle, along with other contributing factors, will determine how much protein, carbs, fats and fiber you need to consume in a day.

So keep calm and chive on. Pay attention to these four ingredients and don't get sucked into the latest diet fad or feel overwhelmed with the plethora of confusing food labels. If you have questions about this topic or anything related to health and fitness, drop me a line at strengthbodymind@gmail.com.