Through all the years I have been involved in sports training, physical fitness, health, and nutrition I have noticed the topic of diet breeds the highest amount of contradictory information, both on the internet and the book shelves. One of the focuses of my work is not so much to raise the banners for one form of diet or to rail against another. It is more to distinguish the commonalities of all successful diets that help us move closer to nature. No matter what diet you may subscribe to at the moment, consider these four tips from my book The Life Food Peak Performance System to help you bypass common road blocks in transforming our health.
1. Go for the Upgrade: In all situations make the best choice possible. Always go for an upgrade. If you can think a more positive thought, do it. If you can consume a higher quality food, do it. If you can engage with a more like minded person, do it! Make the best possible decision in any given circumstance at all times.
2. Simple Food Combinations: Understanding the basics of good food combining can help alleviate common digestive issues and other health progresses. Different foods require a different stomach acid environment for efficient digestion. Proteins require an acidic environment to produce protein-splitting enzymes. Carbohydrates, in general, require a slightly more alkaline environment. If you mix and match carbs/proteins there is an enzymatic compromise where needed enzymes begin to neutralize each other which can lead to bloating. When people eat rice(starchy-carbohydrate) and fish(protein) there tends to be a low-energy effect after the meal. If you do consume fish eat it with your green leafy vegetables(non-starchy- carbohydrate) instead and notice a substantial difference.
Always consume sweet fruits on an empty stomach. This should be the first food option of the day. When we consume high sugar foods after any meal, say a dessert, the sugar will ferment as it waits in the digestive assembly line. If you consume a small piece of papaya or pineapple 15–20 minutes before a meal, the specific enzymes in those two fruits will help to break down upcoming proteins.
Avoid drinking liquids during meals. Drink water with lemon or apple cider vinegar 10–20 minutes before a meal to increase digestive acid production. Liquids will dilute the enzymes that are produced during eating. This can cause bloating and fatigue. A glass of wine should never be consumed during a protein or fat rich meal due to its sugar content. If you drink wine have it before the meal. This will cause you to have fewer amounts and enjoy it more.
3. Liquify your meals: A core principle in raw food alchemy is to turn most of the foods you consume into liquids. It is much easier to drink your salad than it is to chew and digest it. This does not mean you only consume liquids, but a good goal to have in mind is 70% liquid to 30% solid foods, which appears to be optimal for most people. Juices, smoothies, teas, water, and nut milks could compose the majority of your nutrition in a day. There is only so much we can consume, so make it easy on your digestion by liquifying most of it. Make sure you swish your liquids in your mouth a few times before swallowing. Doing this coats your food with extra bacterial disinfectants as well as enzymatic aid for breaking down food. By focusing on chewing up your food you indirectly increase serotonin production in the gut.
4. Fruit First: This is perhaps the most basic principle of changing over your food habits. When you have a craving for something sweet or feel like you “earned” it, then reward yourself, but before you go to the local ice cream shop, eat a piece of fruit first. This concept allows us to stay accountable and shortcut our habitual patterns without employing will power or starvation tactics. Simply acknowledge the urge to stray for a moment, accept it, and pick up a piece of water rich fruit before you head out the door. The common result of this is you actually feel satisfied and do not want whatever you were craving. If the fruit does not satisfy that craving, then by all means, fill the void for the time being. This is a naturally occuring phenomenon and by working with it instead of against it, this feeling will be short lived. Be prepared for these sudden cravings to strike by loading up simple fruits to have nearby. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, so don’t fail!