Why the One-Sized Fits All Approach to Nutrition Doesn’t Work!


Eight glasses of water a day.

Six servings of vegetables.

Make sure you get the recommended daily intake of calcium.

 

We tend to like to think general nutrition prescriptions have value. Why else would our governments put out food guides for us to follow (of which most people pay no attention to anyway, other than to serve as a source of guilt because they realize they’re not following the guide very well)?

 

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, does it? It’s pretty obvious that various foods—for example bread and dairy—affect us all differently: Some of us pack on pounds and get congested if we touch a piece of pizza, while others can eat a block of cheese on an entire loaf of bread and carry on as if nothing happened.

 

Despite our obvious differences, both in body compositions and in the way our bodies handle different diets, there are a ton of people out there who are adamant they know the best diet—for everyone! On the soap box, they yell:

I lost 50 lb. on the Ketogenic diet! Everyone should try Keto!

Plant-based changed my life. Meat is evil and will give you cancer. Switch to plant-based!

What about we get off our soap boxes for a bit and do some self-experimenting to see what’s right for our own unique selves?

 

 

This is exactly what they did in the recent Personalized Nutrition Project for Prediabetes (http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/using-personalized-nutrition-in-prediabetes-to-reduce-future-complications/) study. This cohort study observed glucose levels in 800 people in response to 46,800 meals consumed. The results: Identical meals led to different blood sugar levels in different people.

 

 

This study suggests that general dietary recommendations may have inadequate usefulness,” said the study’s authors, who suggest these differences might be linked at least partially to microbiota composition and function (basically meaning our gut health). Thus, as much as we like to think of nutrition as a science that can give us black and white answers, it’s also most certainly a bit of an art, and might take some trial and error to figure out what’s best for you.

 

 

In light of this, here are five diet-related principles—ones where the verdict is clearly still out (i.e. there is no generally agreed-upon consensus)—you can experiment with to see what might work for you:

 

1. Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

 There’s a lot of debate about whether breakfast within an hour of waking up is really necessary. Some think it was just a clever marketing ploy started by the cereal companies to get you pounding your Shreddies or Special K in the a.m.

 

Only one way to find out: Try a month where you have your first meal at noon. See how you feel and what happens to your body. Check out more here if you’re interested in digging deeper into the breakfast debate: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/skipping-breakfast-and-obesity)

 

2. Intermittent Fasting

 Another contentious issue, some people swear intermittent fasting helps them not only lose weight, but also feel better and more energetic. For an always balanced Precision Nutrition approach, check this out for more about intermittent fasting: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-intermittent-fasting)

 

 

3. 30-day Elimination

 Are you sensitive or gluten? To dairy? Eggs? Try eliminating different foods from your diet for a month as an experiment. Go back to the food after a month and see what happens. Read more here: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet)

 

4. More meals a day? Less, smaller meals?

 It’s the three larger meals versus six small meals debate! Try both and decide for yourself. And check this out for more: (https://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2018/02/6-meals-day)

 

 

5. Post-meal carbohydrates?

 Do you really need carbohydrates within 30 minutes of working out? Some say you do, some say you don’t: (https://www.precisionnutrition.com/about-post-workout-nutrition)

 

Here’s the thing: Your best guide is what your body is telling you. If you’re super hungry the moment you wake up, maybe you do need breakfast first thing. If you get a stomach ache from eating cheese, maybe stop eating it. The point is you are a unique individual, not a template who should follow a good guide your government made for you. Don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands to figure yourself and your body out. Or hire a coach who can steer you in the right direction.

Find Time for Food Prep


Three common excuses people give when I ask them why they don’t food prep are:

I like variety. I cant eat the same thing for lunch every single day.

I dont have the time to devote an entire day to food prep.

I dont like cooking.

I dont have a big enough freezer.

All of which are, of course, lame excuses to mask their laziness…

 

Instead of coming up with excuses about how time-consuming and boring you think food prepping is, and how much of a mess you’re going to make in your kitchen, stop for a moment and consider about the benefits you will experience from becoming more prepared with your meals: Your health will improve, you might finally reach your body composition goals, and your performance at the gym will definitely sky rocket. And you’ll probably save money, too.

 

The truth is, Im more and more convinced that prepping food ahead of timebe it dinners or just lunches for the weekis at the heart of getting people to stick to a healthy diet.

 

Without prepared meals ready in your fridge or freezer, it can become so easy during your always-stressful work week to stray from your intention to eat well. And before you know it, you find yourself ordering take-out or eating nachos and salsa for dinner because it’s the only thing in your fridge that looks even moderately edible.

 

One of the biggest barriers against wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is the lack of preparation,reiterated Beth Warren, R.D.N in an article in “Self”about food prep.

 

So it’s time you become more prepared. And when you do, you’ll probably find food prep doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.You don’t even need a whole day. Not even half a day, really. You need time to grocery shop, and then 1 to 3 hours maximum, and you’ll have healthy meals for an entire week or two.

 

And to make it even easier—if you’re new to food prep—here are 5 tips to help make the experience more enjoyable and efficient:

 

  1. Get a big freezer:

A big deep freeze might be the best investment you’ll ever make…

Food stored in the fridge for days doesn’t taste as good as freshly made food, nor does it last as long. Go ahead and keep a couple of days worth of meals in the fridge, but freeze the rest to preserve the taste and the shelf life.

Freezing also helps if you’re someone who wants more variety and you don’t want to eat the same thing five nights in a row. With a freezer, you can start stock piling meals and then cycling meals from this week with meals from last week and even last month.

 

  1. Blanch Your Veggies (meaning plunge them into hot, then cold water).

Blanching veggies kills enzymes that cause them to wilt quickly. Blanched veggies stay fresher and crispier longer—especially if you’re going to keep them in the fridge for two to three days.

 

  1. Streamline your TUPPERWARE:

If you’re someone who has collected various styles of tupperware over the years and can never find the lid to fit the bottom (probably the same type of people who can never find the pair to their socks), do a complete tupperware overhaul and replace all your tupperware with one style and one size of containers, so all of the lids fit all of the bottoms. It will save a ton of frustration.

 

  1. Bring-a-Friend:

Make food prep a social event and food prep with a friend. You’ll be surprised how much faster it can be to have two chefs feverishly working together. Faster, more food, and more fun.

 

  1. Look Ahead to Next Week:

 

For the sake of saving time later, let’s say you’re making sweet potatoes, roasted veggies and chicken for this week’s lunches. Make extra sweet potatoes that you can pull out next week and pair it up with whatever protein you’re batch cooking the following week. Same if you’re making meatballs this week. Cook extra beef that you can throw in next week’s giant pot of Chili.

 

At the very least, give it a try. Devote 4 hours a week to food prep, see where youre at in 2 months time and then report back.