Hippocrates 400 BC: “Death is more common in those who are naturally fat than in the lean.” Advised exertion after meals, eating a high-fat diet, and “they should, moreover, eat only once a day.”
Why live with metabolic syndrome when you can live a life full of energy and vigor? This is a question often left unasked, most people are unaware that they are operating at a suboptimal state. If you aren’t filled with vitality each and every day you may need to change a few of your default settings to get on (or back on) the path to health and happiness. Read through the list below and apply all or many of the habits to optimize your health.
Habit 1: Get your left-over food refrigerated immediately and keep for no more than 48 hours. Mold begins to grow on foods within hours. Mold is an exotoxin that can negatively influence your health. The key is, that if prepared properly, these are meals you can eat for a few days to avoid eating out.
Habit 2: Eat a variety of foods. Overtime your body can become sensitive to foods that you eat frequently. Eating a variety of foods will also keep your mind and pallet engaged allowing you to stick to healthy nutritional choices.
Habit 3: Avoid processed foods. Processed boxed foods are high in carbohydrates and additives/fillers. These foods are also often preserved to the point where their enzymes and nutrients have been damaged, which can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Habit 4: Shop on the outer isles at the grocery store. The isles are full of processed foods. The outer isles are where you will find the best food options. Work the perimeter and only jump into the aisles if you absolutely have to. I know some stores now hide the coffee and tea in the aisles. Are they on to us?
Habit 5: Wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Produce can be covered in pesticides and herbicides. Even organic produce can be exposed to pathogens throughout the harvesting process.
Habit 6: Stop eating before you are full. It can take time for your body to recognize that it is fully satisfied. This will help control portion size ensuring that you do not over consume calories. Great application of the Pareto 80/20 rule to nutrition.
Habit 7: Chew your food 20–30 times before swallowing. This can help slow down eating to control hunger and portion size as well as aid digestion.
Habit 8: Drink half your bodyweight or more in ounces of water. Your body is mainly water and it plays a pivotal role in many elements of your metabolism.
Habit 9: Don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime. This will help control caloric intake as well as improve your nights rest. This can be applied by either intermittent fasting, time restricted eating or simply scheduling early dinners.
Habit 10: Take high quality supplements. Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks of your metabolism. Unfortunately, due to poor farming practices both adults and children are deficient in several of them. Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and Zinc are a few one can take daily to maintain an edge.
Habit 11: Cover half your plate in vegetables and the other half with grass fed or organic meat. The old school meat and potatoes approach or the more modern grass fed beef with organic asparagus and organic sweet potatoes.
Habit 12: Eliminate gluten from your diet. Gluten increases an enzyme in your gut that increases its permeability and can lead to “leaky gut”. This is a step that may prove overly beneficial for some and not much of a benefit to others. Not everyone struggles with gluten allergies or intolerance. One group will feel much better by cutting out gluten while the other group may benefit from the caloric deficit alone. Try to eliminate for two weeks and journal how you feel - be mindful of energy levels, bloating, and water retention.
Habit 13: Consume 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass. Lean body mass is your overall weight less your body fat. For example if you weigh 150lbs with a body fat percentage of 15%, you have 127.5lbs of lean body mass. This is not a universal rule, if you are not eating anywhere near this amount of protein slowly work your way up.
Habit 14: Limit starchy carbohydrates if energy demands do not warrant them. In short if you are not doing HIIT or routinely engaging in sporting activities keep your starchy carb consumption to a minimum. Reach for alternatives like zucchini and broccoli.
Habit 15: Consume 4 grams of quality fish oil per day. Diets are typically rich in omega 6 fats and not omega 3 fats, which are prevalent in processed foods. This imbalance of essential fats can promote inflammation in the body. Supplementing with fish oil can help create the necessary balance.
Habit 16: Eat organic meat when possible. This is especially important with fatty meats that tend to be high in toxins. Some of the beast and cheapest options are organ meats.
Habit 17: Eat 5 small balanced meals per day.
Habit 18: Store food in glass instead of plastic. Food can absorb toxins from the plastic they are contained within, which in turn are consumed by you.
Habit 19: Perform an elimination diet if you have signs of food sensitivity. Elimination diets vary in intensity and duration, so spend some time reading about which diet may be best for you.
Habit 20: Make your own food. Food is no longer consumed for sustenance; rather it is consumed for pleasure. Preparing your own food will allow you to control many more things than dining out, such as the oils being used to cook the food and the selection of the base ingredients.
In sum, it is vital to assess ones current nutritional habits and work to optimize them for overall health and wellness. Food being as readily available as it is for most of us in the first world has led to myriad abuses. Indulgence of food and drink will lead to obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. Knowing exactly what you are consuming will allow you to avoid many of these ailments. By adopting a few of the habits above one can begin to feel more vibrant and sharp on a daily basis. Eat clean, train consistently, and think concisely.