Healthy Diet Essentials

When it comes to healthful eating, one thing is abundantly clear: you must have enough daily protein to maintain your muscle mass throughout your lifetime AND the fiber to feed your healthy gut bugs.
I advocate a protein-forward and fiber-forward approach to eating. Here’s 6 top reasons why:

  • Blood sugar stability. Protein helps you to feel full, reduces cravings, and prevent blood sugar from spiking (a primary cause of inflammation and aging).
  • Muscle retention. Keeping your muscles is a top priority for anyone who wants to be able to stay mobile, functional, and as independent as possible over time.
  • Weight balance. Feeling satisfied rather than hungry while meeting your nutrient needs; keeping blood sugar stable; and avoiding a caloric surplus are key components to balancing weight–protein and fiber-forward diets check all these boxes.
  • Healthy digestion. Protein foods are top fuel sources for your body. You use up almost all of it with little waste. Fiber rich foods provide the cleansing of your GI tract and bulking of your stools as well as preferred fuel sources for your healthy gut bugs.
  • Good Sleep. Hormonal balance and blood sugar balance are of utmost importance for quality sleep and this approach to eating supports both.
  • Stable Energy. Again, supporting stable blood sugar levels supports stable physical and mental energy levels.

How To Eat A Protein-Forward & Fiber-Forward Diet

I highly recommend that you read Forever Strong by Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. Her book is full of easy to access research on the benefits of this way of eating, charts comparing protein rich animal foods and plant foods, and recipes.
In a nutshell, there are lots of foods that have protein and the best ones for creating and maintaining muscle are branched chain amino acids or BCAA’s (protein building blocks with a branch-like structure that our bodies cannot produce and that we must get from foods or supplements: valine, leucine and isoleucine).
The best food sources of BCAA’s are animal sources–they also contain all 9 essential amino acids but that’s a conversation for another day–meat like beef and bison, seafood, poultry, wild game eggs, and dairy.
Plant sources that contain all of the BCAA’s are peanuts, tofu, tempeh, red lentils, sacha inchi seeds (drupes), hemp seeds and quinoa.
Additionally, combining certain plant foods can provide all 9 essential amino acids (not BCAA’s) to build muscle and repair your body. Examples include combining grains such as corn, rice, wheat, hemp, oat (all of which are limited in the amino acid lysine) with legumes (fava bean, lupin, pea, and soy (which are limited in methionine and cysteine). These combos will provide the protein building blocks your body needs, but at a much higher starch level. For some, this will pose as a challenge for blood sugar balance and maintaining a healthy weight. Many of these foods do however provide a good amount of fiber which helps reduce blood sugar spikes. Potato, interestingly, is a tuber, neither grain nor legume, but potato protein is surprisingly well-balanced in essential amino acids but also very starchy and therefore not ideal for everyone especially in high amounts.
3 ounces (palm sized serving) of meat/seafood/poultry/wild game will provide about 25 grams of protein at a very reasonable calorie amount (between 200-300 calories). In her book, Dr. Lyon demonstrates that it would take 3 cups of quinoa (600+ calories), 8 tablespoons of peanut butter (600+ calories), 1 cup of black beans (400+ calories) or 1.3 cups of edamame (240 calories) to get the same amount of protein!
An ideal amount of daily protein to support health, longevity, and a strong functional body is 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight (divided equally amongst your meals); a ballpark of 30 grams of protein at each of your 3 meals.

Carb To Fiber Ratio

In Forever Strong, Dr. Lyon recommends calculating the carb to fiber ratio of plant foods and choosing ratios of six or lower the majority of the time and in the largest quantities. To give you some examples, cauliflower is 1.7 (divide the total carbs, 5, by the total fiber, 3, in a 100 gram portion), broccoli is 2.3, green beans are 2, avocados 1.2, raspberries 1.7, tomatoes 4. Most beans are 3.0. Rice, pasta and bread have a carb fiber ratio of 10-30 and fruit such as bananas and watermelon are around 10 or higher. That’s not to say that you should always avoid higher starch foods, but rather build habits where you are prioritizing and enjoying those higher fiber foods.

I hope that this information empowers you towards the dietary changes that can add years (and quality) to your life.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

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