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Happy YOU Year! Week 2
The Bar Method is a fantastic way to sculpt muscle, burn fat, build strength and make significant changes to your body. However, any effective exercise regimen has to be backed by sound nutrition in order to achieve a healthy body composition or optimal weight. Here are a few basic suggestions for eating well:
Ditch refined carbs. Yes, sugary treats are carbs. But were also talking about crackers, bread, pasta and other white food, not necessarily in the sugar category. These overly-processed foods cause an immediate increase in blood sugar levels. You may feel full for a bit, but without ample protein and fat, your blood sugar drops quickly, leaving you moody, foggy and worst of all, hungry again! Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet (all gluten-free, too). To round out your smart-carb choices, make fruit and veggies the star of your plate. The USDA recommendations are 5-a-day, but many nutrition experts suggest even more. These nutritious carbohydrates are full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber AND they provide an important source of energy for your body.
Boost your fiber intake! A diet high in fiber is associated with optimal weight, lower cholesterol and a reduced risk for heart disease. Many Americans barely eek out 10 grams per day, if thats you, slowly increase your intake to 25-30 grams daily from whole fruit, fresh veggies, whole grains and legumes. Not sure where to start? One medium pear or apple has 4 grams and ½ cup kidney beans contain 8 grams of fiber.
Eat lean, clean protein about 3 times per day. Get a good serving at breakfast and try to include plant sources like organic tofu, legumes and nuts. If you prefer to include a little animal protein in your diet, select meat, eggs and fish from animals that have been raised in a caring and humane way (think: pasture raised, free-range and wild-caught) and without antibiotics or growth hormones. There are many kinds of protein out there, so find one thats for you.
Kick the sugar habit. Sugar can lower your immune system for hours, making you more prone to pesky winter viruses, including the common cold and flu. Sugar is often hidden in the most innocent of foods (bread and yogurts are big ones). Make sure you read the labels of the foods you choose and try to opt for foods without added sugar or containing less than 10 grams per serving. If you cant say no to that late afternoon sweet treat, find something to replace it such as fiber-rich apple with a few slices of organic cheddar, a handful of raw almonds or a quick walk around the block.
Drink lots of water! Water is essential for overall good health. Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces daily. Start your day on a path toward hydration by drinking 8 ounces the minute your feet hit the floor. If you tend to forget to hydrate, set a calendar reminder or use sticky notes to make it a habit.
Gennis Lafayette, N.C.
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant
Bar Method Teacher, Palo Alto & San Mateo