Seems pretty easy to decipher good vs bad food, but we are flipping that logic on its head
You hear it all the time:
- “I’m on a low carb diet.”
- “I don’t eat X because it has no nutritional value!”
- “I only drink my food.”
When I say things like this out loud, I feel ridiculous.
Today, I want to tell you why.
But first, let's take a quick step back. I’m going to assume you know how poorly most Americans eat. How from 1970 until today, the number of fast food restaurants have doubled.
You probably know that. But what everyone fails to do is offer a solution.
We all know the problem. What’s the answer?
Because food is something the affects everyone. We all have to eat. We live in the most technologically advanced time period and yet most people still don’t understand how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat it.
Most of us, in some shape or form, have a bad relationship with food. At some point, we started abusing food to cope with something else happening in our lives. For me, it was when my dad passed. My entire family would mask sadness with food… and more food… and you guessed it, more food.
As I got older, I started using food and booze to reward myself for a job well done, getting a promotion or bonus, or just working out 3 times a week.
This dug me deeper and deeper into this terrible relationship. I would eat “clean” all week and then on Saturday, I’d pick up a bag of chips and not stop until it was all done. Effectively, I was erasing all the progress I made all week. But the rush of salt, carbs, and fat felt so damn good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We all suffer from this food-as-reward complex.
We all suffer from believing some food is “good” and other food is “bad.”
Hell, the media and internet have found ways to make enormous amounts of money scaring the shit out of us with foods that are killing us.
Well, I disagree with their shameless tactics. And I care about finding solutions to our bad habits and toxic beliefs.
Here’s the deal: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOOD FOOD OR BAD FOOD. RE-READ THAT.
100 calories of Starbursts versus 100 calories of a banana. Starbursts are an example of a food that is calorically dense vs the nutrient dense banana.
All food is, is either nutrient dense or not.
Oreos, Skittles, and cheesecake still have nutrients. Do they contain as much as chicken or broccoli, … no, of course not. Will they help you get a six pack? Nope. Will they fuel your 15 mile run? Not like other foods.
But you can still indulge in foods like them, that you enjoy, and stay lean and mean.
In fact, I’ve seen tons of my friends do it.
However, I always believed I could never be one of those people. I was on this constant roller coaster: One day eating clean and then the next, eating absolutely AWFUL.
So I decided to do some research. I read a few books and consulted with some very intelligent nutritionists. What I learned was incredibly simple, yet incredibly powerful.
Today, I can enjoy some of my favorite foods (NY style pizza, chicken nuggets, sour cream n’ onion chips, and my favorite, crispy fries) without going off the deep end.
Now I’d like to show you how I did it. And we begin by covering some nutrition basics: Macronutrients.
Macronutrients are the building blocks of food and essential to our survival. And there are 3 main types:
The building blocks of food: Carbs, Fat, and Protein
In recent years, Carbohydrates have come under incredible scrutiny. Low carb diets have unfortunately demonized this poor macronutrient.
But here’s the truth: Carbs in and of themselves are not bad or good. In fact, they’re essential to living well and giving us the energy to get up and go about our day.
Of course, like anything else in life, too many carbs -- or a poor source of carbs -- can make us feel lethargic, unfocused, or help us stack on the pounds. If we eat enough of the good Carbs, though, we’ll be in great shape.
Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles, hair, nails ... even our DNA. Without protein, our muscles can’t build or repair. In my book, protein is the most important macro nutrient. It’s extremely important to eat enough of it because if you don’t, you won’t be able to build lean muscle.
Finally, there’s Fat.
With the exception of the Paleo diet, fat has been given a nasty reputation by mainstream dieting fads but it’s essential for growth, development, brain function, and energy.
Like carbs, too much fat can leave us feeling lethargic, unfocused and with more pounds than we’d like, but in balance, it can be a powerful nutrient.
So, whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or just have more energy, your success depends on finding the right mix of these macronutrients. That goes for any diet.
And that's why at Strengthlete, we have created a New Food Pyramid. This pyramid flips what we learned in grade school on its head and it values one thing above all: Food Balance. I encourage you to print it out and stick it on your fridge.
When you check out the pyramid, you’ll see we’ve done two things that no one else will:
#1 - We built in indulgences.
There is no reason not to indulge. Depriving yourself of food or overindulging is a mind fuck. Don’t do it. Have your favorites, but notice where they are on the pyramid.
#2 - We are a supplement company that puts supplements at the top of the pyramid.
Contrary to what “business experts” would say will help us make our wallets fat, we have placed supplements at the top of the pyramid. But that's where they belong. For them to work, you must use them properly in conjunction with food. They don’t work alone. You need to have balance in food first, supplements second.
As I mentioned above, print the pyramid. Keep one at your desk and one on the fridge.
Every time your stomach is growling and your inbox is slammed or you’re ready to go to town on a box of Entenmann's doughnuts, let it serve as a reminder of food balance.
Every time you are about to grab a carton of Ben & Jerry’s before bed, let it guide you towards a better decision.
And every time you are running out the door in the morning and ravaging through the cabinet for something to eat, let it be your source of your clarity.
The New Food Pyramid is just the first of many tools we’ve built to help you get better everyday. Stay tuned … there’s much more to come!
Why this is important to us
These lessons are the motivating factor behind the most recent changes here at Strengthlete.
The goal of our company is not just to sell you clean protein or supplements, but to also teach you the context in which they should be used, how to change your habits, and overall, how to change your relationship with food.
This is so important to us because these lessons changed my life, this business, and is the essence of our change and transformation.
I wanted to share it with you so you too can begin to “Get Better Everyday.”
PS - If you are interested in controlling your eating, sign up for Strengthlete Nutribuild -- the process of how I stopped my stress eating and lost 40 pounds. The journey is tough and you don’t have to do it alone. Join me and the other Nutribuilders who have shed both emotional baggage and physical weight.