Achieving and maintaining good health is as easy as following the Golden Rule and Ten Commandments for good health.
You are only capable of what your body allows, and your body allows only what you allow it. If you want to avoid illness or injury, you must give your body what it needs to do so. You must stretch and maintain flexibility to avoid ligament and tendon injuries. You must consume vitamins and minerals to avoid illness. You must consume protein to build muscle and protect your bones and organs. You must rest your body to remain alert. Give your body what it needs, and it will reward you with good health.
The only thing you take with you to the grave is your body, and you only get one of them. You must take care of it as you would a home, or better yet, a place of worship. Don’t just keep a clean home; keep a temple with spotless, stained-glass windows.
And you shouldn’t try to imitate anyone else’s body because your body is unique. Your body might not be meant to emulate any other. I was obsessed with obtaining the “Rocky body” for years. I figured if Sylvester Stallone could put over 200 pounds on a five-foot, ten-inch frame, so could I. Well, lower back problems made it difficult for me to carry the upper body weight necessary to achieve the 200-pound goal, so I slimmed down to my high school weight of 150 pounds and focused on my core strength to accommodate my lower back.
Know your body’s capabilities and incapabilities, and accommodate it. If you have bad feet, ankles, knees or suffer from chronic back pain like me, don’t carry around a lot of upper-body weight.
You only get one, so don’t abuse it. Even if you work your way back from years of abuse, whether that be from overeating or a poor diet, lack of exercise, or drug or alcohol abuse, your body won’t be the same after that abuse. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be in the best shape of your life at advanced ages, but think of your body like the picture of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s seminal novel. Your body, like the picture, displays the “sins” of your days, so to age gracefully, you must have discipline.
Regardless of your exercise regimen, if you want to maintain your weight, you mustn’t consume more calories than you burn in any day, except...
Keeping a weekly cheat day on which you consume just a few more calories than you burn keeps your metabolism high in order to burn more calories while sedentary and sleeping. It will also help satisfy your urges to consume those not-so-healthy foods.
Good health is not achievable without honoring both fitness and nutrition. You must move regularly and eat a healthy diet, not one or the other.
People who don’t eat breakfast are starving their bodies of calories when they’re needed most. Breakfast means breaking your fast. Your body has gone seven hours or more without being fed, yet has been burning calories all that time. Your body nor your brain can function at optimal levels without breakfast.
The magic number for activity is 30 minutes per day. If you can just stay on your feet and moving for half an hour per day, you’re body and brain will benefit.
Instead of eating three, large meals per day, eat one big meal at breakfast, a bit smaller meal for lunch and even smaller dinner, filling in the gaps with healthy, fulfilling snacks like fruits, vegetables and nuts (if you’re not allergic). If half of your calories per day come from snacks and the other half from meals, you’ll be spreading your calorie consumption out to allow your body to optimally use those calories instead of storing them.
If your body feels good, you should feel good about your diet -- enough so that you don’t envy what others eat. Your diet should also allow you to enjoy things others enjoy, and a focus on consuming smaller servings of sweets or salty carbs to satisfy any urges. Attempting to eliminate any and all vices is impossible and dangerous, so instead of consuming carbohydrates, replace those calories with fats. Fat is the preferred fuel for human metabolism anyway.
If you’re tired you should sleep. Naps are incredibly invigorating, so if you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep per night, or work an erratic schedule, take naps to get seven or more hours of sleep per day.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Free Talk Live
You’ll know when you’re seriously taking your nutrition seriously. Instead of simply logging what you eat and drink and monitoring your calories burned on the MyPlate app, you’ll be playing it like a game -- plugging in different snacks and meal combinations ahead of time -- chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption.
I’ve been using the MyPlate app by Livestrong for over three months now, and since I’m finally meeting my daily protein goal of 142 grams pretty regularly, I’m turning my focus to managing what percentage of my calories come from protein, fats and carbohydrates -- the macronutrients, or macros if you want to sound cool.
The MyPlate app uses recommendations for macronutrient consumption taken from The Zone Diet, which is 40 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats. Achieving the perfect day of macronutrient consumption takes careful planning and is even harder than eating a gram of protein for each pound of your body weight.
The closest thing to a perfect day of macronutrient consumption I’ve managed was 39 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 33 percent from fats and 29 percent from protein. Those meals consisted of the following:
Slow cook some boneless beef cuts on low-to-medium heat with a can of kidney beans, a can of chili beans and a can of whole tomatoes. Add tomato paste. I add a bit of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and a squeeze of mustard as well. Spice it up with chili powder, cayenne and black pepper. Cook for eight hours or until the beef is falling apart.
Pour a cup of chili over a sliced hamburger bun like an open-faced sandwich. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the chili. You can add a fried egg to make the shredded beef and bean chili and egg breakfast sandwich and boost your protein consumption further.
Blend four ounces of 2% milk with one scoop of Super Advanced Whey Protein (either chocolate or vanilla), a third cup of strawberries, half a banana, and half a peach, or apple, or orange -- whatever you want. You can even blend vegetables.
Whey is the best way to reach your daily protein goals without breaking the bank or eating too much tuna or eggs. Plus, mixing whey with milk adds slower-acting casein protein and healthy fats. Adding juice adds more carbs, but a splash of orange juice with your milkshake is actually fantastic. If I’m already using an orange I hold the orange juice, though.
Macronutrient Breakdown: 35 percent carbs, 39 percent protein and 26 percent fats. This is an ideal breakfast given the caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown. There’s even room for more carbohydrates and fats, which you could get from adding a fried egg and a few more fruits to the smoothie.
While 18 pretzels result in 22 grams of carbohydrates consumed, Newman’s Own High-Protein Pretzels also carry 5 grams of protein per serving. Plus, all profits go to charity, and the pretzels are delicious despite their lack of salt and overall healthiness. I generally only eat half a serving after my big breakfast.
The easiest way to cut carbs is to make sandwiches with one slice of bread instead of two. Open a can of white tuna in water and drain it. Stir in a tablespoon or two of cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise, salad dressing or Miracle Whip. You’ll cut down on the fat, and it’s a nice little protein boost to an already high-protein lunch. Mix in some chopped onion and celery if you like, and add salt and pepper to taste. I sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the tuna, and use a teaspoon or so of Durkee’s Famous Sauce (because a tablespoon is 80 calories) and a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard on my bread.
Bring four cans of reduced sodium chicken broth to a boil and add chopped carrots, onion and celery. After the vegetables are cooked thoroughly, add two cans of chicken breast and two cups of rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, or add a few teaspoons of Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce if you like it spicy.
I don’t usually have a glass of 2% milk with lunch, but I did on this day.
Macronutrient Breakdown: 59 percent carbs, 25 percent protein, 16 percent fats. While this lunch isn’t close to macronutrient consumption perfection, it keeps your protein consumption consistent and made up for the carbohydrates I didn’t eat for breakfast. Ideally, you would attempt to keep your macronutrient goals consistent for each meal, but that’s an even more difficult game to win and requires even more planning.
A serving of 39 Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts is 13 grams of fat, but fats are better than carbs when you’re turning your body into a fat-burning machine. Those 39 peanuts also carry seven grams of protein and seven grams of carbs with them, making them the ideal snack to make you feel full without packing on carbs.
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare chicken thighs by washing and removing the skin. Lightly grease a deep pan with extra virgin olive oil and finely chop some garlic. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and then flip them, just to get oil on both sides. Then sprinkle garlic over each side, along with any other spices you’d like to use. Bake to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Macronutrient Breakdown: 0 percent carbs, 33 percent protein and 67 percent fats. Again, this meal hardly meets the macronutrient goals of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fats. But it does make up for my carb-heavy, fat-light lunch. I’ll usually eat this with a side of green beans or other vegetable to get some carbs into the mix. You can even slice up the chicken and add it to an alfredo sauce to eat over whole grain pasta if you want to work in more carbs.
Whey protein is digested and absorbed by muscles quickly, whereas casein protein will continue to feed your muscles all night while you sleep, leaving you more refreshed in the morning. That’s why cottage cheese or a glass of milk are recommended before bed. The casein proteins in dairy products make for the best way to help your muscles recover and continue burning fat while you sleep.
Don’t use acidic fruits in your evening protein shake or you’ll subject yourself to potential heartburn that could keep you up all night. Stick to strawberries and bananas -- no oranges.
As you can see, The Zone Diet requires careful planning, and chasing the perfect day of macronutrient consumption starts with figuring out the right foods to consume. Once you narrow those down, you can mix and match in order to consume 40 percent of your calories from carbs, 30 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats at every meal.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live