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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Basic Guidelines for Health and Performance

More and more people have been coming to me lately for advice on what to eat to help them reach their goals, so I decided to share the basics of what I currently believe is optimal for health and performance.

These guidelines have been created from personal experience, research, and have been tweaked over the years to reflect new information and knowledge. I reserve the right to change my views if new information comes to light about any subject, however those changes will likely be small tweaks. I have seen many people have great success by sticking to these basic recommendations.

Everyone's situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all plan, these guidelines are just what I see as a good starting point for most people. I hope this is of help to you.

Basic Guidelines for Health and Performance
As much as you want:
  • Quality Meat/Fish/Eggs (grass-fed, pastured, free-range, wild caught, organic, etc.)
  • Non-starchy vegetables of all colors (broccoli, spinach, kale, bell peppers, carrots, eggplant, etc.)

  • Nuts and seeds (limit to a handful per day or 3 Tbsp of nut butter)
  • Fruit (berries are best; limit to 1 cup per day if weight loss is the goal.)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, yams, beets, squash, onions, etc; 100-250g/day carbs depending on activity level)
  • Good non-processed added fats (olive, coconut, macadamia nut, and avocado oils; pastured/grassfed butter; limit to less than 5 tablespoons or 60g added fats per day if weight loss is the goal)
  • Fermented vegetable foods like kimchee, sauerkraut, etc.

  • All grains (cereal, pasta, bread, chips, baked goods, flour, rice, corn, wheat, oats…)
  • All legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts)
  • All pseudograins (amaranth, quinoa, etc.)
  • All refined vegetable oils (soybean, canola/rapeseed, cottonseed, etc.)
  • All added sugar, natural or not (including honey, maple syrup, agave syrup/nectar, cane sugar, etc.)
*Most sugar substitutes (including sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, etc) *Stevia is okay occasionally.
**Most dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.) **Pastured/grassfed butter is okay.

  • Try to eat about every 3-4 hours, and only until comfortably full. Don’t stuff yourself and don’t starve yourself.
  • Try to eat around 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day(for a 180lb person, this would be 144-180g/day)
  • Drink 1oz of water for every 2lbs of bodyweight per day. (If you weigh 180lbs, drink 90oz/day)
  • Get 8-9 hours of quality sleep in a pitch black room every night. It’s difficult to overstate how important this is. Turning off lights and electronics an hour before bed will help you sleep better.
  • Stick with as unprocessed foods as possible. For example: steak is better than salami, and raw fruit is better than fruit juice, etc.
  • If the meat is good quality (grass-fed) eat all the fatty meat you want, it’s great for you. If it’s conventionally raised (most meat is), go for the leaner cuts of meat.
  • One day a week, eat much more than you would usually eat, try to keep it quality food, but just eat more calories than you would usually eat.

 For frequent high intensity training (CrossFit, HITT, etc):
  • For breakfast, include 50-75g of carbs from  yam, sweet potato or fruit(preferably berries or melon)
  • Eat a post-workout meal IMMEDIATELY after your workout containing 4-8oz of lean protein (meat/fish/eggs/etc) plus 75-100g of carbs from yams or sweet potatoes.

*The longer and harder the training session, the more carbohydrate you will need to optimize recovery.