We all know (and sometimes loathe) those people who try to describe their diet as THE single best diet in the world and that everyone should start eating the way they do in order to lose weight and feel great. The truth is that we are all very different and our bodies will respond in unique ways even if we munch on the same stuff. I am continuously tinkering with my diet because I think it’s really interesting to see how my body responds. Through my years of experimentation, as well as many years of studying science and nutrition, I have collected several bits and pieces of insight that I hold as basic truths FOR ME when it comes to weight loss/weight maintenance. I am more than happy to share a few with those who are curious about why I eat the way I do and how/what I grub down on…whether or not you agree with me or want to take my advice is purely up to you!
Let’s start with the nuts and bolts, shall we? Or, because this is a food blog…the meat and potatoes.
More Protein, Please
I used to snarf down a bowl of bran flakes or oatmeal every morning because I figured this was better for my body than bacon or eggs. I always wondered how people (those freaks of nature) went for such long stretches of time throughout the day without needing to eat again because I would always need a snack before lunchtime rolled around! I was never a big meat eater, and so my mid-day meal most likely consisted of a sandwich with as much bread and veggies as possible and as little meat as I could get away with. Dinner was probably pasta, rice, or salad.
Soooo…hell, I was a carb-a-holic, I admit it…but I believed I was being healthy because all my carbs were whole grain and whole wheat. This is definitely not the worst diet ever and certainly may be suitable for many people…but tsk, tsk Cory. This was not the right diet for me–where was the protein?!
I considered a drastic transition in my diet but as someone who is very much science-brained, I could never make such a huge transition or support that kind of a claim without doing my research first. Well, carbohydrates are broken down immediately into sugars, which can spike your blood sugar quickly (ever felt that chocolate-cookie-high? Yeah, me too, me too)…only to cause a sudden energy crash shortly thereafter. Furthermore, when not used immediately for energy, carbs are converted and stored as fat. Protein, on the other hand, takes the longest for our bodies to break down…so it will keep your appetite down, help you feel fuller for longer, and assist in curbing those dangerous cravings. This is great news when it comes to weight loss/weight maintenance because you will feel less inclined to get your snack-attack on in between meals, which can contribute to extra calories and therefore…extra weight. No wonder my appetite was all over the map…there was nothing to keep me satiated and the constant consumption of my beloved carbs was taking my blood sugar on an unwelcome roller coaster ride!
If you are curious about the science behind the benefits of high-protein vs high-carbohydrate meals, check out an article I wrote about The Effects of a High Protein Breakfast. It will give you some real evidence-based research explaining why I now focus on protein more than any other macronutrient. Carbs and I, we’re still friendsies…but I aim to select members of my social circle more from veggie/fruit sources and try to minimize our hang-out time to before I do somethin’ active.
For breakfast (almost) every morning, I make a green smoothie. Mmmmm…The key? Protein powder; I’m usually getting around 30 grams (and 1/3 of my whole recommended protein intake for the day) before I even head out the door…along with a healthy dose of fiber. I feel full and satisfied until lunch time, and I have discovered that my appetite stays down the rest of the day no matter what I do later on. Sayonara, carb cravings and blood sugar crashes.
My Morning Green Routine
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond/soy/coconut milk or 2% plain unsweetened kefir
- 2 scoops protein powder (I use unsweetened plain soy…but aim for one that delivers at least 20g protein per serving and doesn’t put in any added sugars)
- 1 cup frozen kale/collard greens/spinach (put a bag in the freezer for smoothies, it makes for a thicker shake)
- 1 frozen banana or 3/4 cup mix of frozen blueberries/strawberries/raspberries
- 1 scoop Amazing Grass superfood powder (I swear by this stuff…it tastes naturally sweet and yummy and it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals that always give me an instant energy boost, you can Find it here)
- a sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1-2 ice cubes, if needed to make it thicker
- Blend all ingredients up and gooooo.
Next week I’ll be posting Part 2 of Nutrition Basics…so you can learn all about the benefits of healthy fats and how to incorporate the right ones into your diet.
Stay tuned 😉