Dinner! This is how I live my whole-food lifestyle. It’s actually a good fit for me since I’m not talented in the kitchen. I can create a recipe-free concoction by throwing any mix of lean meat, brown rice, and vegetables in a bowl and call it a meal!
What are whole foods? Whole foods are one-ingredient, minimally processed food items. Think of foods in their natural, raw form. For example, that’s chia seeds, flax meal, almonds, any vegetable, oats, eggs, and egg whites, to name a few. So when you look at the ingredient list all you’re getting is one ingredient and no other preservatives or additives. Choosing foods in this manner insures that your body is free from all the hidden extras that so commonly accompany packaged, processed, and calorie-dense foods so prominent in our society.
Are they “clean” foods? That is a catch phrase I no longer use. In comparison, saying “whole foods” implies eating food in its basic form versus saying “clean” and implying it’s better than other foods or opposite of eating something dirty or bad. When we get in the habit of calling foods good or bad, we also associate ourselves to being good or bad based off those choices and it can go against all our efforts. Calling foods whole and then giving yourself permission to eat in balance goes a lot further for the mindset and then long term, the lifestyle.
Dining out is doable because I can eyeball portion sizes and go for a lean meat and a veggie (99% of restaurants have those!). Ordering say green beans or a baked potato plain with some butter on top has no hidden ingredients. Besides some cooking oil commonly used in restaurants, you know exactly what you’re getting.
At a party I choose the fresh-food items first and fill it in with a few treats on the side. You can still enjoy the fare in a social setting by choosing the items that are fresh and contain minimal ingredients. My strategy is to fill 75% of my plate with those choices and then add some fun foods on the side. This might be a fruit, vegetable, sushi, or even a cheese in some cases. This keeps you full, balanced, and satiated without overdoing it and killing your progress.
In my contest prep season, when I’m preparing for a Figure competition, I’ll eat whole foods 90-95% of the time. When I’m in a building season, the other 8 to 9 months of the year, I’ll eat whole foods 85-90% of the time. This means that I’ll focus on hitting my fiber goals first and then once I do, if I choose I can go for a treat to fill in the balance of my macros for that day. I also aim to eat low sugar in pair with adequate fiber and these strategies help guide my choices. Of course there are times of sweet treats and indulgences, but it’s all in balance with a majority of whole foods first in my day, at home or while away on travel. The lifestyle doesn’t stop.
Think about it. Nutrition is really where it’s at because it’s what you do many times daily in the 23 hours outside of the one hour you’re in the gym.
Looking to take your results up a notch? Don’t cardio more. Slow down and put more focus and time into your food habits, what you eat and how much you eat on a routine basis.
I can’t urge enough that the difference truly is in your consistent details. Look at this as an ongoing lifestyle, not an 0n-off switch based off what’s going on in life. You don’t stop eating for days, so why stop and start and stop eating well and mindfully? Keep the balance all year long. Whole food for life!
91% ground beef, brown rice, sweet mini peppers, acorn squash, flavored with poco de gallo