Raise your hand if you’re on a diet. I really don’t like that word because it often implies restrictions, deprivation, and doing without things that we love.
It’s a short lived cycle for many before they revert back to what feels “normal” or “comfortable” to them.
I know with the start of the year many people are looking for diet plans to help them get started on weight loss.
I’ve recently done one comparing two low carb diets since that is what many people seem to view as the magic potion right now.
Like each one of us are unique, so will be the vehicle or ways that will help us live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Personally, I don’t endorse anything that excludes food groups unless it is for health reasons, or if it overall makes you feel better by abstaining.
What I want to talk about today is learning to think about how/what you eat in the form of single ingredients.
There is a term spun around the fitness community referred to as “clean eating ”
Personally I’ve never liked this term as it seems somehow a bit elitist. Simplified, it really means trying to eat food closest to it’s original form without lots of other stuff added to it.
Just real food.
Mostly I try and eat foods that fall in this category.
Then I read an article recently that made me realize I’m not alone in the idea of wanting to eat this way.
I love the idea of just making the focus on your “diet” single ingredient foods, while still being able to incorporate and enjoy those other things in life that are “extra”. For me, it is having dessert with the fam. For the guy writing the article, it was occasional beer and pizza haha.
You get it though, right? Focus on healthy, real, “clean” foods majority of the time, eat in moderation, listen to your body’s natural hunger and full signals, and allow for some fun stuff in there too. And when I say “single” foods, I don’t mean just eating one at a time.
You can certainly mix up a variety of “single” foods. I make lots of one pan dinners ( these are the cat’s meow by the way….) and they contain assortments of veggies ( sometimes some fruit!) and lean protein. The idea is to build meals/snacks with a single idea in mind keeping you closer to eating just real food.
For instance, my breakfast may be eggs, sauteed veggies ( whatever is hanging in my fridge) usually spinach is the base of it, berries of some kind, and milk. Some times a slice of multi grain bread if I had a longer training session. That isn’t a single ingredient, but it usually falls under 5 or less. Most of the time the eggs, veggies and fruit adequately fill me up.
Or it could be a bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with a variety of berries and raw almonds.
Steel oats with craisins and walnuts is a fav before longer endurance workouts
Lunch is usually a salad crafted up depending on my mood. It contains lots of colorful veggies, sometimes some fruit, and of course adequate protein. A few whole grain crackers can go with it if I’m feeling like a need them.
Snacks, I usually try and keep it with fruit or add some cheese cubes with it as well.
Hardboiled eggs, raw nuts, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies are other single ingredient snacks.
And chocolate. Sometimes, I may just want something chocolate. And yes, it is totally off single or less than 5 ingredients and that’s ok too.
You see where I’m going right?
Balance and moderation lead to a sustainable lifestyle.
This approach really gives you not only great flexibility in what you can eat, it will ensure you gather plenty of good, healthy nutritious, from all food groups in your day.
How complicated is this?
Simply put, anything that grows from ground and isn’t tampered with will make it easy. Also sources like dairy, meat, eggs, grains, beans etc
Are you a label reader? Learn to be. The ingredient list will quickly tell you what’s in your food.
Does the box just say “brown rice”? Or is it rice with other added things you can’t pronounce?
Focus and learn about new fruits and vegetables. Learn how to make new recipes with them and incorporate them into your meals. Be willing to experiment and explore new things.
I’m not talking crazy or restrictive here…..
listen there are some things I happen to like occasionally and don’t plan on giving up because they will leave the minimal ingredient list…
Chocolate, French fries, pizza, a fun meal out with hubby….
I don’t eat these foods often, but when I want it, I’m not gonna feel bad about it or think I’m “cheating” on my diet.
I really honestly, just want that stuff less and less as time goes on.
My point is, if people overall made an effort to eat more natural, as close to real food as they could, they’d easily lose or maintain weight, look good, and their bodies would reflect the healthier foods they took in.
Remember that old “you are what you eat” saying?
Don’t think for a moment your body won’t appreciate those healthy foods you offer it.
At least focusing on single ingredient foods is fairly easy, right? I say single, but really even 5 or less is good too. I know some people way more extreme who say 3 or less. The idea is to do what works for you, with a focus on healthy, balanced and sensible eating that allows you to feel energetic, not be hungry, and helps maintain a reasonable healthy weight.
Perhaps, initially, just focus on what you eat, the types of foods. How do they line up with the idea of being just five or less ingredients? Basically, take inventory of your eating habits.
Then challenge yourself to do it at one meal. From there it could be how or what you snack on. Each step will help you to make better choices for yourself in the long run.
Awareness is the key to getting started and becoming more successful at incorporating healthier foods into your daily nutrition plan, this in the long run, will help you live a healthy lifestyle and not the world of yo-yo dieting.
Tell me, have you considered single ingredient foods as a way of eating and a part of a healthy nutrition plan in your life?