A Nutrition Crash Course To Build A Healthy Body and Happy Mind
Now that we've covered the basics of the diet and the "philosophy" surrounding healthy living, here's a bit of a nutrition "crash course".
Introducing...Real Food 101.
To build the best possible body and mind, you need a variety of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, veggies, and fruit.
Protein, carbs, and fat are the three macronutrients that sustain our body and its hundreds of millions of processes, so let's discuss them more in depth.
Part 1: Protein
At its core, dietary protein is put to use and metabolized for energy.
This is accomplished via the all important nitrogen balance in protein. Basically, nitrogen
balance means any loss of protein in the body is matched by an equal intake of dietary protein, so that the quantity in the body is unchanged. And any excess dietary intake above this "nitrogen balance" level is broken down and used to fuel the body.
By these means, protein helps build strength and maintain muscle (once we eat at or above our nitrogen balance level). This is especially important for anyone trying to build a lean, fit physique, but also very important for those who are middle-aged and older. For example, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, after the age of 35, we lose .5-1 percent of muscle annually, unless we resistance train and eat adequate protein.
Protein is also known to be the most satiating of nutrients. It can keep us full and help us "weather the storm", especially in a strict diet situation, when fat and carbs would have temporary satiating effects at best. This relates well to the idea of "protein hunger" - in other words, the idea that our bodies have a craving/need for a certain amount of protein, and without that amount, we literally can't function.
This "protein hunger" and associated need for protein is even more telling when we look at case of protein deficiency. Essentially, too little protein intake (as often observed in fasting conditions) causes losses of up to 40 percent of proteins in the liver, kidneys and gut. This drastically impairs their function and can have disastrous effects on internal health, immune system, and risk of mortality.
Looking at it front another perspective, as Sally Fallon explains in her outstanding book,
Nourishing Traditions, studies of various traditional cultures show that a moderate protein/moderate-to-high fat diet offers the best bone health, muscle development, and "flawless teeth". Teeth are especially important, since oral health (especially gum health) is a strong predictor of heart disease and overall disease risk.
A study of over 1,000 dentists and their spouses, for example, shows that those with high protein diets had the least health problems and diseases (as measured by the Cornell Medical Index).
And lastly, a nice side benefit of eating protein is its thermic effect, which is higher than
carbs/fat. Estimates show that about 30% of protein calories are immediately burned off during digestion. Combine that with the fact protein will fill you up and help to cut out cravings and hunger, and you have a recipe for drastic improvements fat loss.
Part 2: Fats
I know many of you might jump back when you hear this.
But as I've mentioned many times already, eating fat actually helps fat loss and longevity, contrary to popular belief.
Most people don't know this, but fats are the building blocks of cell membranes. Cell
membranes are the fat (and protein) based structures that surround all cells from the "outside world" (i.e. the rest of the body). And over 50% of cell membranes are made entirely of saturated fat.
Fats are also vital for mineral absorption, various bodily processes, and are carriers of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. From another perspective, fats are also necessary to properly absorb and utilize various herbs/plant extracts including Turmeric (one of nature's most protective, powerful herbs). This is why I recommend taking Turmeric-based InvigorateNOW capsules with some fats, (such as in the "Nature Blast" shake).
Essentially, without fats entering our body, cell membranes cannot function properly.
Additionally, the "panic mode" that results from insufficient fat intake (or "bad fat" intake)
signals the body to hold onto as much fat as possible.
This is similar to the phenomenon experienced when well-meaning dieters eat too few calories for too long. In this case, the body goes into semi-starvation mode. Believing that it will continue to be deprived of calories, the body calls it quits and holds onto as much fat as possible.
On the same token, this fat deprivation (and nutrient deprivation, as result) makes it that much easier to eat even one "trigger food" (think cupcakes or cookies or chips) and end up ruining your diet through a massive multi-day binge.
Part 3: Carbs
Carbs are the preferred source of "fuel" for the body.
It's important to maintain a decent amount of these in your diet, and to NOT go below roughly 50-75 grams per day, which will put you into a state called "ketosis".
Ketosis is praised by the non-informed low-carb communities, and it's thought to be the holy grail of quick fat loss. And in certain cases it is.
With one glaring "truth" behind it all.
No matter what people will tell you about being "fat-adapted" or "using ketones for energy" or any other non-proven theory, ketosis works so well because reducing carbs makes you eat tons of fat and protein all day.
And eating tons of fat (and especially protein) all day keeps you very full and satisfied.
Additionally, from a psychological standpoint, you feel like you're "eating so much", especially since many of us have been taught that meaty proteins and fat "make you fat".
So as a result of feeling full the whole day and thinking we are eating so much delicious, fatty food, we unconsciously eat much less in total calories than we would otherwise. And we almost always end up in a calorie deficit...meaning we lose weight.
Time and time again, we'll come back to this: Besides eating sufficient protein, which helps remove fat in favor of lean muscle, the MAIN thing to focus on for weight loss is a calorie deficit. Whether you reduce carbs or reduce fat, the deficit has to come either way.
And back to the low-carb community's holy grail of ketosis: reducing carbs so low is
TERRIBLE for your body, and may have detrimental effects on your adrenal glands, hormones, and longevity in general. While ketogenic diets can be therapeutic for neurological disorders and the like, it really isn't necessary for the vast majority of us.
And going further, these very low carb diets (known as "VLC diets") miss one very crucial concept that can cause many internal problems.
Interested in losing weight? Then click below to see the exact steps I took to lose weight and keep it off for good...
Moving forward, there are several other articles/topics I'll share so you can lose weight even faster, and feel great doing it.
Below is a list of these topics and you can use this Table of Contents to jump to the part that interests you the most.