How to Simplify Your Diet And Have More Energy With These 9 Proven Nutritional Laws

How to Simplify Your Diet And Have More Energy With These 9 Proven Nutritional Laws

In the world of health and fitness, nutrition is notorious for being unnecessarily complex. Instead of determining how to simplify your diet, the current theme seems to be how to make your diet more complex than is necessary.

The basics don’t sell (they’re far from sexy).

However,  add some fancy jargon and rules—now you have a money maker.

Losing weight doesn’t need to be a roller coaster. Unfortunately, many people will diet and abandoned their plans within a couple of weeks due to the intense and regimented approach they forced upon themselves.

Instead of adopting habits that are truly beneficial to their particular lifestyle, many people find themselves adopting habits and strategies that perfectly suit someone else—not themselves.

Nutrition doesn’t have to feel like a game of tug-of-war. Food doesn’t have to be viewed in a negative light. Eating doesn’t have to feel like a chore.

Instead of dreading and resenting your diet, implement these 9 core nutritional laws that I use to simplify my diet.

1.Live by the 80/20 rule

The first objective on how to simplify your diet is to simply let go of the trivial nutritional tactics. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, prepping for a photo shoot, or a bodybuilding show—obsessing over minute nutritional tactics is counterproductive.

Before macro counting, measuring food, comparing whey protein powders—ask yourself “am I making good food choices on a daily basis?”

If you’re not making good food choices, don’t even look into advanced strategies. You can’t count, weigh, nor debate nutritional tactics if you don’t even understand how to properly make good food decisions.

Master your basics before anything else.

2.Have a bias for longevity

Looking fantastic at the beach, the pool, or on the boat is wonderful, but what good is it if the trade off is poor overall health.

A plan that focuses on longevity views internal health over external health while recognizing that each macronutrient plays a pivotal role in supporting an optimal and high performing physique.

As you’re designing your nutrition plan, make it a goal to eat a well-balanced diet and have all macronutrients represented appropriately as well as an ample amount of vegetables with each meal.

how to simplify your diet
Balance and diversity are keys to your nutrition.

3.Intelligently eat with purpose

You are what you eat. Eating just to eat is mindlessly eating and is the reason why so many people secretly put weight on over the years without recognizing what they’re doing to their body.

Intelligently eating is eating with an objective and purpose in mind.

It’s eating foods that you understand will not only help your internal health but also support your external (aesthetic) goals. Everything you eat should be able to help repair and build lean muscle while providing you with the energy needed to show up as the best version of yourself.

4.Have a green drink every day

I will gladly admit, I’m not the biggest fan of vegetables.

However, one the best decisions I’ve made in the last few months is to have one green drink each and every day. Our greens are so important because they contain a plethora of micronutrients which are the forgotten members of a healthy overall body. Many of our daily functions couldn’t be carried out without a plethora of micronutrients.

5.Have protein with every single meal

Protein gets a lot of the spotlight, but rightfully so. It plays a role in keeping our metabolism operating  smoothly, maintaining our energy levels, stabilizing our blood sugar levels, and is used in every single cell within our body.

Building lean muscle, maintaining proper neurological functioning, aiding in digestion, balancing hormones, helping maintain proper moods, and helping satiety levels—protein is a nutritional superhero.

Each woman should aim for at least one portion of protein (palm size serving) and males should be two portions (2 palm size servings). These aren’t set in stone but are a good place to start.

6.Have a few default meal options

Decision fatigue is a real thing. Information overload will make you less likely to take action or make smart decisions.

There’s a reason the president, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and many other high achievers wear the same outfits predominately throughout the week—it frees up space to make decisions and have energy for the important matters of the day.

The same applies to your nutrition. Eating a handful of the same meals throughout the week is the best thing you can do to turn your nutrition on autopilot. You know exactly what you’re putting in your body without wasting too much mental bandwidth thinking.

An example of a template I use is the rice bowl strategy:

  • Your meat of choice
  • Your preferred style of rice
  • Vegetables (at least 3 different types)
  • Coconut oil (used to prepare my chicken)
  • The serving size is entirely up to you and your desired goals.

7.If you’re having the urge to binge—ask why 3 times

Whether it’s a tough day at work, relationship stresses, discomfort from traffic or anything else—emotional eating is powerful enough to halt your fitness goals.

Before I make an impulse food decision, I ask myself why I want this item three times. If it’s three sound and logical reasons, then I buy the item with no guilt. Often times, by the second and definitely the third reason, you’ll realize this impulse food decision was only a distraction to something else going on within your life that you’re avoiding.

8.When you do indulge, indulge guilt-free

Guilt is a terrible and unnecessary thing.

I love tacos, tamales, arepas, empanadas, ice cream, and wine. I resist from binge eating by having control of my emotions and indulge by selectively planning for moments of indulgence.

Diets are important, but they don’t equate to deprivement of the foods you enjoy.

chocolate cake
There’s always a time and place for some chocolate cake

9. Eat foods that you (actually) enjoy

If you’re on a nutrition plan that includes foods you don’t enjoy, how realistic is it to expect that you’ll stick to it?

Willpower is finite and motivation is fleeting.

I don’t like brown rice so I’m not going to eat it (there are many types of rice & other available starches).

Don’t like broccoli? No biggie, there’s a plethora of other green veggies.

According to a study published in “Eating Behaviors” in  2005, individuals who took a strict, rigid, all-or-nothing approach to dieting were more likely to have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and compulsive eating behaviors compared to those who were a little more flexible with their dieting approach.

When you give yourself options and feel in control of what you’re eating, you’re going to create a better attitude toward nutrition and yourself.

5 Major Signs you Need to Divorce Your (Pretend-Healthy) Diet

5 Major Signs you Need to Divorce Your (Pretend-Healthy) Diet

In America, there’s one divorce every 36 seconds.

Reading this article from top to bottom will most likely end with a handful of couples filing those separation papers.

That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year.

First marriages that end in divorce often have an average lifespan of eight years before both parties call it quits.

The good news is that divorce rates were around 50% in the 80’s and they have decreased to around 40% currently.

Not the most positive of stats—sorry.

But, it is what it is.

Just as most of those marriages that take eight years to finally end often times needed to be annulled a lot sooner, most people’s relationship with their diet drags on longer than it needs to.

While the average woman will stick to her diet five weeks, two days, and 43 minutes.

There’s also a large majority of men and women who stick to a diet that makes them miserable and isn’t beneficial to their quality of life.

Just as it’s tough but essential to call it quits on bad relationships—the same courage is needed when it comes to divorcing your diet.

Divorcing your relationship or diet doesn’t mean you’re weak or lessens your worth—in fact, this often shows that you have courage and care for yourself more than the average person.

Don’t be one of those average people who sticks around in a relationship for longer than they need to (it’s not going to work out, just move on). Don’t be one of those people whose scared to divorce their diet because they think there isn’t other options.

Here are five signs it’s time to divorce your diet.

1.Your diet is treated like a religion

Religion is a powerful force in people’s lives. It helps them make decisions, choose partners, and guides them through their daily lives.

Religion to a certain extent also closes the door on seeing particular things a certain way. Committing to a religion means abiding by all those principles and rules of that particular way.

This isn’t bad necessarily, since it helps provide direction and keeps many on a good path.

However, when it comes to our health and fitness—this isn’t such a good idea. Closing all your nutritional doors leads to some biases.

Diet trends are getting more and more popular each year.

In 2013 and probably still to this day, The Paleo diet was the most searched diet on Google. Ahead of the Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or any type of diet that you can think of.

In fact, in the U.S., the number of vegetarians has doubled in the last decade while vegetarian cookbooks are the fastest growing division in the food sector business.

Whether it’s Paleo or becoming a vegetarian, the potential issue lies in the rigidity and inflexible allegiance people pledge to their diets. Some people cut off all carbs while another percentage swears that all the problems revolve around dietary fats.

Imposing these self-imposing rules on yourself and anything that goes against those beliefs are automatically assumed false despite any possible and logical merits is problematic.

Vegans don’t want to hear that a little meat is actually beneficial. The meat-loving crowd doesn’t want to hear anything about how a more plant-based diet is beneficial.

Why can’t all nutritional camps be friends (maybe they should listen to this song)?


All macronutrients are beneficial and serve a specific and vital purpose to making our body the best version it can possibly be.

By approaching your nutrition with a tunnel vision mentality, you’re actually slowing your fitness and general health goals.

At the end of the day, the main objective for everyone should be to provide their bodies with the quality nutrients it needs. These nutrients enable you to live an optimal life with longevity in mind and maximal productivity.

2.It puts you on an emotional rollercoaster

If you’re tired, cranky, sick, and other emotion descriptions—it’s time to divorce your diet.

Eating a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet is designed to give you an ample amount of energy—not leave you feeling even more drained.

 

If that’s the case, you’re not consuming enough calories. Secondly, you’re not consuming enough quality nutrients within those daily calories.

If your diet is emotionally throwing you off balance, there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll binge and emotionally eat to temporary improve your current mood.

roller coaster-divorce your diet
If your diet is taking you on a roller coaster—file those papers.

 

Avoid this situation by assessing and taking note of how you’re feeling while on your nutrition plan. Are feeling more energetic? Are you sleeping well? Are your workouts going well or is your strength decreasing in the gym? What about your sexual drive—that’s a key indicator as well?

Eating to improve your physical appearance is important, but more important than that is eating in a way that goes along perfectly with your daily life.

3.You have poor (or infrequent) bowel movements

We all poop and need to recognize this. In fact, we should be pooping every day (on a random note, the word poop is funny and always makes me smile).

Let’s have a brief chat about poop.

Your poop is going to be one of the best indicators to how beneficial your current diet is.

With a set of healthy bowels, anytime you insert food in there, those bowels are going to remove your toxins.

If those toxins aren’t removed and your bowels aren’t eliminating as they should be—then you’re going to be headed down a road of constipation (literally).

Constipation equals a not-too-happy body where those toxins are able to enter your bloodstreams and cause inflammation. This constipation puts your body at risk for a plethora of health issues.

If your poop is rock hard and comes out like little pebbles—you need more fiber (and more water as well to go along with the increased fiber).

4.You exist for cheat days

You force yourself to eat on this nutritional plan for the entire week and when Sunday rolls around—it’s time to gorge with no remorse.

While I’m all for indulging oneself and enjoying foods guilt-free, there’s a difference between indulging because of pleasure and indulging due to deprivement.

Playing this mental game of deprivement usually, backfires because those cheat days get out-of-control. Next thing you know, you’ve eaten an entire pizza, a tub of ice cream, and some more eateries.

Indulging on a cheat day where restriction and rules dictate your life leads to eating just for sakes of eating because most of those items you’re eating are normally forbidden and labeled bad foods.

This strategy isn’t likely to last for long-term weight loss.

As mushy as this sounds, long-term weight loss starts with a focus on our overall health and treating our body well—not treating it like a yo-yo.

If you focus on eating to feel good, the rest of your process will fall into place. Less restriction and more intuitiveness.

5.It makes you do a complete 180 with your lifestyle

If you canceled dinner with friends because you were afraid it was going to ruin your macros or progress—then it’s time to divorce your diet.

If you have to make excuses as to why you can’t eat something all the time or seem to always be using some type of cleanse that affects your normal routine and interactions with people—you’re unbalanced.

Your “healthy lifestyle” is negatively affecting your relationships and decreasing your quality of life.

Not cool.

Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean being inconvenience with every turn you take in life.

The way you choose to eat isn’t a one-way street that leads to a dead end, it’s instead an open highway with many paths to the end destination. The route you choose to arrive by is completely up to you.

nutrition has many lanes to success—divorce your diet
Nutrition has many lanes to success

 

Nutrition and your preferred lifestyle is a creative choice that is 100% in your hands.

Food is meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. It’s also fuel for your body, but eating healthier doesn’t mean giving up on the important events of your daily lifestyle and abandoning the important people in your life.

File those papers and seek a nutrition plan that treats you well and allows you to feel great and look great.

Nutritional Mythbusters: 5 Random Nutritional Facts to Give the Side Eye (Vol. 1)

“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.” – Joseph Campbell

Nutritional Mythbusters: 5 Random Nutritional Facts to Give the Side Eye (Vol. 1)

From Norse mythology to Greek mythology to Egyptian mythology—stories are powerful. Stories allow us to explain history, nature, customs and norms in a cohesive manner.

Stories that are passed down from traditions provides context and meaning into our world and how exactly we arrived at this current time in point.

I love a good collection of stories, but I also realize there’s a downside to stories. Sometimes the stories are misinformed and do more harm than good.

Fast forward to today’s world and the world of health and fitness is filled with many ideologies (often based on little validity).

With various supplement companies fabricating stories to push out their latest “miracle supplements”, and “Instagram gurus” searching for another viral hit by making outlandish claims—nutrition has become convoluted and filled with fear mongering tactics.

The barrier to entry to a healthier lifestyle is more confusing than welcoming; thus deters more people away.

Each week, it seems there are new health secrets and strategies designed to move our health in the right direction, but yet we’re only moving in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, a few random statistics I found showed that…

  • Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980
  • More than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight in 2014. Of these, over 600 million were obese.
  • Thirty-nine percent of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014 and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s not from a lack of capabilities. It’s instead from a lack of focusing on the bigger issue—our relationships and behaviors towards food. Unfortunately, we rely on rules and tactics instead of our behaviors.

Tactics are seductive and fun to discuss. With tactics, we can place all our hopes and dreams on one thing to fix the issue. But, there isn’t a simple click of the button solution to our fitness woes. Instead of demonizing foods and placing a tunnel vision toward our health that contours a one size fits all nutritional approach—let’s keep a vision toward the big picture.

There are plenty of nutritional myths that circulate around the health and fitness industry. But today, I’m going to share five myths during the first installment of the Nutritional Mythbusters series.

Myth #1: You need to go low-carb to lose weight

Carbs have become public enemy number one and are often blamed for any and every kind of health issue. Low carb diets are trendy.

Gluten is blamed for everything. Gluten is blamed for irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal issues. However, this evidence that gluten affects everyone isn’t a definite. Only those with celiac and intestinal issues should make it a priority to avoid gluten altogether.

Let me get this out of the way: low carb diets work.

However, it’s not the only way to successfully lose weight. It’s not the low carb diet that’s important, it’s the caloric deficit that is key.

Can you lose weight quickly by dropping all your carbs?

Absolutely. However, the initial wave of weight dropped is most likely initial water weight from the change in diets (you can only lose so much body fat at a given time). The cause of the potential accelerated rate of weight loss is due to the lack of carbohydrates. Carbs are going to retain more water within your muscle cells (hence you won’t lose as much weight according to the scale).

However, the initial wave of weight dropped is most likely initial water weight from the change in diet (you can only lose so much body fat at a given time). The cause of the potential accelerated rate of weight loss is due to the lack of carbohydrates. Carbs are going to retain more water within your muscle cells (hence you won’t lose as much weight according to the scale).

Myth #2: Sugar is part of the evil empire

Cue the Imperial theme music when it comes to discussing sugar. 


We’ve all heard the tagline that “sugar is as addictive as cocaine”.

Yikes, sounds scary. However, sugars reputation is largely screwed in an unbalanced context.

However, sugars reputation is largely skewed in an unbalanced context.

Sugar is a natural substance that goes all the way back to our primitive days and something our brains and bodies are naturally addicted to. Sugar is another alternative to describe the various forms of carbohydrates.

On a random note, human breast milk is mostly a sugar-sweetened beverage and no one will argue that breast milk is toxic and evil. Your brain uses close to 20% of your total energy expenditure. Not getting enough sugars (i.e. carbs) not only makes you feel crappy but will also decrease your mental performance and overall productivity.

Carbs (i.e. sugars) must be broken down into their simpler form known as glucose (i.e.the fuel for your body and brain). You also may see the word saccharide which is just a fancy way of describing sugar (picture sugar dressed in a tuxedo).

There are 3 types:

  1. Monosaccharides–  one type of carb running solo (think glucose traveling through your bloodstream).
  1. Disaccharides – two separate carbohydrate links partnering up (think fruit or honey)
  1. Oligosaccharides – many carbohydrates partnering up (think rice, potatoes, arepas, tamales, empanadas, oatmeal, veggies, & many others)
nutritional mythbusters
Empanadas—a beautiful example of what happens when carbs (or sugars) combine forces.

 

Now you have a basic understanding that all carbohydrates are sugars, just in different disguises.

Sugar has a bad rep, not because of the substance itself, but because of the quantity of sugar (i.e. carbs) being consumed and the context in which it’s presented in (an attribute people often forget).

One person doesn’t make a kid, it takes two to tango. Sugar doesn’t create obesity by itself, it often has a partner as well (usually high fat intake or undisciplined eating behaviors).

The most important factor to weight loss is still being in a caloric deficit and supplying your body with the proper amount of nutrients.

A caloric deficit > demonizing sugar (carbs—your choice of name), fats, or anything else.

Myth #3: Meal timing

How many times have you overheard or been preached to by an annoying friend, peer, or guru about eating on the clock?

Probably once too many.

If you abide by strict meal timing, there’s various rules that state you have to eat every 2-3 hours to stoke the metabolism and this structure is broken up into six small and perfectly portioned meals that aren’t a gram or ounce off the prescribed amount.

How are you supposed to get some work done or live a rich lifestyle if you’re constantly paying attention to the clock or thinking about your eating rules?

Answer: You’re not.

The only thing that will happen is a poor relationship with foods, and a skewed relationship between fitness and living a balanced lifestyle.

Meal timing 100% up to you. The time you eat and how often you eat is trivial (especially to beginners).

What’s more important?

Eating the right amount of calories, the correct macronutrients, making great food selections, and finding an eating routine that jams with your day-to-day life.

Skipping breakfast isn’t the end of the world. Eating three meals as opposed to six isn’t going to make a difference as long as your caloric intake is under control. Eating carbs at night isn’t forbidden (just give yourself two–three hours before bed).

Myth #4: Egg yolks are terrible for you

Egg yolks raise your cholesterol and are bad for your heart and fitness goals. You should just opt for egg whites.

Egg yolks received a faulty reputation because of the cholesterol contents at face value.

However, there’s good and bad cholesterol. Before I explain those two, cholesterol is a fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of your body. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D, and help digest foods.

LDL (low-density lipoproteins—bad cholesterol) – A high level of this leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries (which are vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body).

HDL (high-density lipoproteins—good cholesterol) – This is beneficial because it takes your cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Then, your liver removes the cholesterol from your body.

Eggs mostly contain the good portion of cholesterol, which subsequently raise your testosterone and provides a myriad of other health benefits (unless you have a preexisting condition, have no fear in your egg consumption).

The fat from the yolk is mostly saturated which is the same in coconut oil. Saturated fat is beneficial as it helps your brain, cardiovascular, bone, immune, and nervous system health.

Start eating the yolks with no shame plus who actually thinks egg whites taste good?

Myth #5: Brown rice is better (i.e. healthier) than white rice

Brown rice is a recent invention in the grand scheme of history compared to white rice. However, once you add some extra marketable factors such as extra fiber—it’s easy to see how brown rice elevated among the public.

But, a little unknown and often never spoken fact about brown rice is depending on how it’s processed, this can potentially cause digestive issues.

Brown rice includes phytates and lectins. Phytates (or phytic acid) are anti-nutrients that bind to minerals such as copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, niacin, and calcium; thus preventing them from being absorbed. Phytic acid prevents pepsin, a crucial enzyme needed to properly break down protein as well as preventing amylase—the enzyme that helps break down sugars (the effects to which it does this isn’t fully concluded yet).

Here’s another argument from the brown rice campaign team: “brown rice is more nutrient dense than white rice”.

Comparing a side by side portrait of brown rice and white rice—brown rice has higher numbers. However, remember that brown rice has the added phytates, which are preventing those “extra vitamins and minerals” from being fully absorbed.

Lastly, you’re not going to eat rice because of its extensive nutrient profile. Compared to the many other foods in existence, rice is lacking. Rice is valuable because…

  • It’s damn tasty (jasmine, basmati, and I could go on forever)
  • It’s easily digestible and causes very little digestion or food allergies among people.
  • It’s a great post-workout food because it’s easily absorbed.
bowl of white rice-nutritional mythbusters
The type of rice you eat doesn’t matter.

 

Another big difference between brown and white rice is that brown rice contains the bran and germ still intact. In some individuals, the bran and germ can be irritative to the digestive tract, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome (this isn’t going to happen just from eating occasional brown rice, so don’t panic).

At the end, everyone’s tolerance with food will be different.

I had many food phobias in the past and would label foods good or evil and pigeon hole myself into eating certain foods because I thought I had to. I don’t want anyone else to make healthy eating more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t force yourself to eat foods because you think you have to.


Here’s a free downloadable poster of today’s 5 nutritional myths.

Nutritional Mythbusters: 5 Random Nutritional Facts to Give the Side Eye (Volume 1)