Oats, chicken and steamed vegetables

And why I don’t eat “healthy” anymore

Oats, chicken and steamed vegetables

This is what I used to eat.

And by most accounts, it was healthy.

Gluten-free grains, lean protein and vegetables. That’s what we’re taught, right? Eating this way will help us reach our goals. We’re healthy if we eat this way.

Not really.

I ate this way for almost two years.

I followed every bodybuilding.com program, I gleaned what I could off of the experts online and where’d I get?

Tired, depleted and nowhere near my goals.

Over the last year, I’ve come in contact with a word that’s held high importance in how I view food and nutrition: nutrient density.

In its simplest form it’s the richness of nutrients (micro/macro) in a given food.

It’s important because the volume and variety of nutrients is imperative for our bodies to not only survive but to completely thrive and perform at its optimal best.

Eating crappy oats, plain skinless chicken and disappointing steamer vegetable packs is equivalent to putting watered-down gasoline in your car and expecting it to run properly.

It will not fuel your body properly.

When I ate like this years ago I felt tired all the time. I would constantly wonder about my next meal before finishing the one I was eating. I would toss and turn at night. I’d get cranky and hangry and moody. I needed a preworkout drink before going to the gym and coffee throughout the day. I had day(s) where I’d completely binge. I got sick more than I used to and was frustrated because I had “never been healthier.”

By eating from so few nutrients, I wasn’t giving my body the nutrients it needed to sustain normal function.

And at some point, your body has to sacrifice functions in order to survive.

Which was the reason why I was tired (sacrificing sleep), getting sick more often (sacrificing immune system function) … so on and so forth.

Going through a nutritional therapy program opened my eyes to this cascading cycle. It gave me better insight to the why behind what we eat. It gave me the resources needed to understand that the quality and variety in our nutrition is imperative for sustainable health and wellness.

What does that mean for me today?

It means that I no longer eat skinless chicken breasts, oats or steamer veggies.

I eat a lot of fat

I salt everything

I eat more than I’ve ever eaten: 1800+ calories/day

I eat red meat and skin-on chicken thighs

I get my energy for my workouts from the foods I eat

I eat fresh vegetables, cooked in quality fat and oils

I eat whole-food carb sources instead of bland oats and rice

I work out when I feel like it and rest when I want to

I sleep hard throughout the night

I wake up refreshed and alert

I have a healthy immune system

My mood and energy are consistent

All these things should be A GIVEN. We’ve lost sight and feelings of how we should actually feel. We shouldn’t always be tired, hangry, sick or depleted. These are not normal symptoms. The more we feel this way, the more “normal” we’re going to think it is. And it’s not.

Think about that.

If you’re feeling less than, tired, fatigued or just not at your best… peel back the layer of what you’re actually eating.

Is it dense and rich in nutrients?

Are you getting enough quality … fats? Whole-food carbohydrates? Calories?

Don’t let less than your best be your new normal — it isn’t normal.

You’re capable of feeling your best self and the foundation of that starts with what you feed it.


Originally published at thewellu.com on June 20, 2017.

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