“Live foods support life.” -Alex Cotie, RD, LDN
Eat real food. This was the main piece of advice Alex Cotie gave this past week when I had the privilege of attending her seminar at NTC’s “Workshop Wednesday.” Alex is a part of the team at Sport Fuel, personalized nutrition services for everyday people and oh, did I mention the Chicago Blackhawks?! #NBD (Insert sassy girl emoji here).
Alex gave an hour Powerpoint presentation where she covered the basics of nutrition, the inner workings of our bodies at the cellular level (my favorite part), what foods are best for your body and why, as well as advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle three to five meals at a time. Even though I came early and talked to Alex one-on-one for twenty minutes (thank you Alex!), while also taking copious notes throughout the entire presentation, I could not get enough information. I wanted more! I could have stayed and chatted with Alex for hours. I was hanging on her every word. My pen couldn’t move fast enough. I didn’t want to miss one single nugget of knowledge she had to share with the group. Did I mention it was SRO (standing room only)? Luckily for me I had a seat front and center so I didn’t miss a moment!
After reviewing my six pages of notes, I put together a list of the key takeaways Alex shared with the group and I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing them here with all of you, my faithful readers. Without further adieu, drum roll please…
Real Foods. Live foods support life. The foods that will go bad, mold, and rot when you come home after a week long vaca are the foods you want to eat (well, obviously before the whole molding and rotting part). The foods you will find in your pantry that are still good after a week+ long trip, are the foods you want to avoid. Focus on eating real, whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Not fake foods aka Frankenfoods. When grocery shopping, stick to the outer perimeter of the store. This is where all of the real foods (fresh produce and proteins) are located. However, if you veer off the beaten path into the inner aisles, be sure you read your labels! For example, if you are buying canned tomatoes, the ingredient label should read, “tomatoes.” If you cannot pronounce other ingredients and do not know what they are, then don’t put that “food” in your body.
Eat more fats, healthy fats that is. Healthy fats keep you full. If you find yourself eating breakfast and are ravenous an hour later, odds are you didn’t get enough healthy fats during breakfast. By providing your body with healthy fats, you are sending a signal to your body that fat = fuel and can be burned and used for energy. (Think of healthy fats as the log that keeps your campfire burning). Examples of healthy fats include in the following:
- Cold water, wild caught salmon (Avoid farm raised at all cost).
- Grass fed beef (Remember, you are what you eat, but also what your food eats. Pay the extra price for grass fed. I mean, who really wants to eat beef that has eaten corn, ground up chicken bones and who knows what else. Yuck! Not me. Grass fed can make all the difference, so fork over the $$$ even if you are like me who is a #bitchonabudget
- Butter, ghee, lard and tallow. Take a look at some of my favorite animal oils from EPIC. Sidenote: I am totally not being paid to promote this line of products, I am just a girl giving a reco.
- Nuts and seeds, but in moderation. Repeat, in moderation! Chia and flax seeds are some of the best seeds to eat. Eat flax seeds in their whole state for fiber, but if you want to use flax seeds as a healthy fat, grind them up into flax seed flour. #nowyouknow Tip: I use a food processor to make my own flax seed flour from whole flax seeds. A coffee bean grinder works just as well for those of you still working on growing your kitchen appliance collection.
- Oils. Coconut oil is a craze right now because it is known as the “fat burning fat.” Most oils pass through the liver first before delivering their nutritious properties to the rest of the body, but coconut oil is the only oil that skips the liver entirely and goes directly to the various parts of the body right away. Other healthy oils include olive oil, raw pumpkin seed oil and poppy seed oil, which is the highest oil in omegas. Warning: Do not consume poppy seed oil if you are regularly performing drug tests as you will test positive for drugs and will likely not pass. #epicfail
Embrace carbohydrates. This great news for me. #carboqueen Many of us have been told carbs should be consumed in the morning right at breakfast, but not after 3pm. I mean this makes sense, right? If you eat carbs first thing in the morning you have all day to burn them off. #false Carbs are actually a recovery macro (other macros include protein and healthy fats). Your body goes into recovery mode every night when you go to sleep, so this is the ideal time to provide your body with fuel it can use to heal and recover. Cue the carbs! Now proceed with caution here and remember, a little bit goes a long way. #lesismore If you consume too many carbs before bed your blood sugar will spike, causing you to catch that second wind then crash hard, which means you are in for a restless night’s sleep. Speaking of sleep…
Sleep is essential. If you are not getting enough sleep, it does not matter what you are doing in the kitchen or in the gym. Not getting enough rest completely cancels out all of your healthy habits, clean eating efforts and your sweat sessions at the gym. Bottom line: Listen to your body! If you are tired, sleep. It’s that simple. Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s rest. #zzzzz
Drink up b*tches. I have said it once and I will say it again: Take your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. That number is the amount of water you should be drinking (in fluid ounces) on a daily basis. If you didn’t believe me before, well believe it now, because the expert has spoken! So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking (at minimum) 70 ounces of water a day. That means roughly nine cups of pure water. Not tea, not coffee, just water. Keep in mind if you work out, you need to add an extra eight ounces of water for every 30 minutes you are sweating it out. Tip: Add natural fruit flavors like lemon, lime or orange to your water. Anything goes, so find your fav flav and drink up! P.S. Lemon + mint + cucumber = Detox central.
Bonus Tip: You should be consuming two giant handfuls of vegetables at every meal. Yep, that means at least six handfuls of veggies a day, if you are consuming three meals a day. (If you are eating four or five meals a day you can have anywhere from one to two handfuls of veggies depending how you decide to divide it up). This is incredibly painful to hear for a fruit lover like myself, but you just have to get tactful on how you approach these green guys. Tip: Add two handfuls of vegetables to a morning protein smoothie so you get some greens in right away. For example: Add in one half of an avocado (healthy fat) and one handful of your veggie of choice. Boom! You’ve got two handfuls of veggies right there and it isn’t even 8am yet. #greengoddess
When it comes to healthy eating, don’t make it complicated, just eat real foods. “If God made it, eat it! If man made it, well, avoid it.” Remember, you eat three to five meals a day, so you have three to five opportunities to eat real food. Do your best and #keepitreal folks!
Live Healthy, Happy & Fabulously,