"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." With these seven words, Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food”, encapsulated the simplest and most effective dietary advice you will ever receive. But how can something so simple and straight forward be so difficult to implement?
I have hundred of clients that I see every year who are baffled that such a simple concept and message can make such a huge impact on their health and how they feel. The concept is simple but the implementation is the hard part due to such drastic changes in how we eat and where we get our food from. Between working 40+ hours per day, family and friend commitments, food being available to us 24/7, not enough time to cook meals at home, portion sizes growing, food is now a list of ingredients, added sugars to what we perceived as health food... you know all the reasons because you live them everyday. The barrier in front of us seem insurmountable, but I have a few simple steps to get your started....
"Eat your brussels sprouts", as your nose is turned up at these mushy, steamed, green blobs sit on your dinner plate. I use to hate brussels as a kid and even the thought of them as an adult would make me cringe. Often we avoid many delicious and nutritious foods due to preconceived notions based on our past experiences. Rightfully so, but often we have not tasted these food for 5...10...15 years, yet we continue to reject them over and over again.
In the past 5 years brussels sprouts' status has been elevated by the hipster foodie scene and their impeccable nutrition status. You see them on menus, raw, roasted, sauteed, topped with bacon, maple glaze, or a honey, balsamic drizzle. Initially when I would see these gorgeously described brussels dishes on a menu, I would think "gross, no thank you". But time and time again friends and family would order fancy brussels sides for the table.
Standing in the aisle of the grocery store looking at all the brands of cereal with a puzzled look on your face. Phrase flash before your eyes “whole grain, high fiber, low sugar, smart choice, all natural, organic, good source of fiber…” Ahhhh what does
this all mean!?!
It means turn that package over!
The nutrition fact label is where the truth will lie. However even nutrition fact labels can sometimes be puzzling. I picked up a simple solutions from a colleague of mine, Dr.Wayne Altman, which now has been dubbed it the “Altman Rule“. The Altman Rule is a clever trick to simplify label reading when it come to sugar, protein and fiber.
To use the Altman Rule:
(1) Located the grams of sugar, protein and fiber on the food label. Also be sure to check the serving size.
(2) Make sure the product has at least 3 grams of fiber or more. (Exception will be yogurt)
(3) Add the grams of protein with the grams of fiber.
(4) Compare the grams of protein + grams of fiber total, to the total...
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories during a typical Thanksgiving dinner. To put that into context that is about 2 and 1/2 days worth of calories for most females, all at one meal!
To be successful at the holiday time it is not a requirement to do all 6 strategies at every event or party. Rather pick one to two to utilize before you head to a holiday or social event. To add that extra accountability share what strategies you are going to use with a family member or friend.