Over the last 2 decades I’ve been working in the health and fitness industry and have been utilizing different types of nutrition plans for varying needs of my athletic events and day to day activities.
I can remember my first go at cooking for my health goals, I was 20 years old and recall cooking a chicken breast in butter… yum! Over the early years of my career (1994-) the only access to information was through the different magazines I was included in such as, Muscle & Fitness, Oxygen, Flex, MuscleMag to name a few.
The industry went through multiple stages of what worked and what didn’t work for weight loss, muscle gains and general health. I can remember feeling confused as I was trying to figure out what was going to work for my specific health goals and thankfully had access to some great nutritionists and trainers to get the help I needed for my competitions.
Growing up my loving Mom fed us very well at home. I was a very athletic country girl who worked outside after school every day with our horses and helped keep up the 20 acres we called home, so I was never in need of losing weight or keeping fit. Each night my mom prepared meals consisting of protein, full fats and carbs. She was a great cook and we never were without yummy meals and snacks.
Even though my mom kept us well fed she was not in the fitness industry and didn’t know the 1st thing about what was healthy, she just wanted my dad and us kids to have a good, tasty meal!
As I stepped out into the world and had to start figuring out foods for myself, I am grateful that I had some good coaches in the beginning to help me learn the food ropes.
Moving forward from the early 90s to now, 2017, I can honestly say I have learned a tremendous amount about meal planning and how foods can and will affect us; however, my cooking skills are still limited. ?
Now that the internet is stocked full of information from 1000s of health professionals we can find just about anything we have questions about, we can sift through articles, reports, websites, ebooks and blogs to dig in and see what doctors, athletes, companies and nutritionists are saying about the different foods and nutrition ideas at any time.
At times, I find it extremely helpful and at other times I find it frustrating that there is almost too much information now and every day there are new solutions, products and ideas to try. It’s kind of like going to a great restaurant and being extremely hungry and it’s too hard to decide what to order off the 100pg menu!
With all this in mind, I have given thought to 4 of the top, simple solutions that can work for anyone interested in maxing out their nutrition.
1. Get More Sleep
First ‘maxing’ tip on my list might surprise some of you. However, setting yourself up for more quality sleep (not just quantity) will benefit your nutrition greatly. It’s important to understand that part of the endocrine system, the adrenal gland (body’s battery & like a cell phone battery) must charge every night to produce hormones and help the body use food eaten for energy.
Your adrenal gland functions in a similar way to your cell phone in that each night your body uses sleep to recharge itself and if you start your day rested enough your 5 systems work much more efficiently. If sleep is neglected, your body will function at a lower level and many of the functions of the endocrine system such as metabolizing food will not be performed efficiently.
To get the proper sleep, you will need to know how many hours are best for you personally. Typically, somewhere between 6-9 hours works for most people. Set your sleep timing up to achieve this amount as many nights as you can. If you miss some hours try to get in bed earlier but don’t sleep later than normal. Keeping a schedule as best you can will be most important for your body’s natural sleep patterns.
Creating a darker, quieter environment, turning off devices and TVs at least 30 mins prior to bedtime, writing down any notes, plans or ideas for the following day will help allow your brain to slow down, drinking a great caffeine free tea can be helpful (my favorite is https://www.miracletree.org and I have a handy discount code if you would like to try them: BSR15) are all ways of helping you prepare for sleep and allow the body to start resting in advance of actually getting horizontal and falling asleep.
2. Eat More Protein
My 2nd maxing nutrition tip is eating more complete protein! Protein plays a major role in the maintenance and development of all body tissue. The primary function of dietary protein is to provide the body with building blocks (amino acids) needed to support many vital biological processes. Since everyone possesses different variables (age, lean body mass, stress, sleep, activity level and type of activity, etc.) it is not likely that any one standard of protein intake will apply and /or provide effective nutritional support for everyone.
For the most part, dietary proteins can be divided into two categories:
Complete Proteins -anything that had a face previously (or Mommy) plus a few non-faced items such as soy and Quinoa. These proteins are called complete because they contain all the nine essential amino acids. These are termed essential because the human body cannot synthesize them, therefore they must be supplied to the body via diet &/or supplements.
Incomplete Proteins- nuts, seeds, rice, potatoes, yams & many beans. These types of proteins are considered incomplete because they do not contain all or enough of the nine essential amino acids.
It is important to understand that complete proteins are superior in amino acid content per unit weight than incomplete proteins thus have greater benefits to the body when it comes to building and maintaining the tissues and promoting the breakdown & release of fatty acids from adipose tissue.
Providing oneself with sufficient protein is a valuable tool in building and maintaining lean muscles as well as keeping body fat minimal- I don’t know about you, but those to ideas sound like a good idea to me!
3. Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
For my 3rd‘maxing your nutrition’ tip I am considering the amount of people I work with and know that are suffering from digestive issues from heartburn to more severe issues such as Crohn’s disease and the like. There is an easy to find and affordable product called Apple Cider Vinegar that can be used daily to heal and help people suffering from the multiple digestive issues that are sadly becoming more common today.
Below are some of the great benefits of incorporating ACV- some of them I have personally felt the benefits from and some of them I will try should the need ever happen (ACV helps sunburn? Who knew?)
As we all know not all things are equal, so when choosing your ACV please use a high quality ORGANIC brand such as BRAGGS:
- Solve an upset stomach Pectin- lymph cleaning
- Eliminate hiccups
- Sore throat cure
- Reduce your cholesterol with apple cider vinegar
- Stop indigestion from getting to you
- Clear your nose from congestion and stuffiness
- Lose weight with apple cider vinegar
- Dry scalp no more
- Avoid blemishes on your face
- Skip your midday coffee and look for apple cider vinegar instead for some extra good, clean energy
- Prevent harsh leg cramps at night
- Stop chronic bad breath
- A natural teeth whitener
- Stop bruising on your skin
- Improve blood sugar
- Protective for the heart
- Prevent cancer due to its high amounts of polyphenols
- Alleviate sunburn pain
4. Use a Meal Prep Service
My last ‘maxing your nutrition’ tip I will keep simple: If possible use meal prep services for a portion of your meals. This may seem extravagant for some of you, but the truth is most people end up spending more on junk food and poor choices than if they found a quality meal prep service that could ship them meals for the week whether it’s 1/day or more. The fast-paced world we live in now has opened many people to the idea of offering meal prep and food services delivered right to your door.
I am so thankful for the great food I receive from my Paleo meal prep friends at www.eatology.co and if you are interested in trying them out, they ship anywhere in the US, enjoy my discount code for 20% off anytime: Mo20. Always nice to save $$!
It is my desire to help make nutrition easier for you and provide some great ideas for your better health or may be for someone you know and care about. All the above mentions have been used faithfully by yours truly and I will only provide information that has proven itself to me.
I always say that learning/finding the information isn’t the hard part, the hardest part is APPLYING what you learn! Here’s to applying the ideas I’ve shared- now get to work and max out your nutrition!
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