Many thanks to our Guest Blogger, Nathan Leigh for this article submission:
It’s not difficult to see there has been more than enough ranting and raving about what the best way to eat is. In our day and age with the massive degree of influence coming from a plethora of different sources, even turning on the tv or visiting any given website we can be bombarded back and forth with information about what the best way to fuel your body is whether you’re hearing it from a high carb low-fat perspective, a high fat lower carb perspective maybe Atkins, Paleo or even diets that essentially limit you to eating one or two foods (Potato diet anyone?). Now I’m not gonna start going into specifics raging on different dietary patterns and why I do or don’t see how they could be useful because at the end of the day I’m not a nutritionist I’m just a regular dude who has been interested in health and wellbeing for the last 5 years or so, and in those last 5 years or so I’ve tried a fair few of these diets and some I’ve found that I’ve liked and some that I’ve well… Not liked so much. But there have been a few things I’ve learned over this period and I want to share those with you today.
For starters one thing I consider to be incredibly important here is maintaining simplicity with your food choices by this I mean before you’re putting all of your eggs into a certain end of one basket I feel its a great idea to look at the foundation of where most of your energy is coming from, and as far as I can see the best foods for your foundation are very simple, highly nutritious whole foods. Some examples of these kinds of foods would be Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds and legumes and even certain grains.
I can hear the voices of ‘Well duh who wouldn’t know that those are some of the best food options?’ Well now days its really easy to hear how one kind of macronutrient carbs for example is not going to benefit you what so ever and how it will raise your insulin too high and that’s its pretty much just bad through and through , or on the other side of the coin you may hear how you should be avoiding fats because they will clog your arteries and cause you to gain unnecessary weight, I can see how some people will find that leaning towards consuming more of a certain macronutrient could work for the better, but still its really easy to get caught up into demonising other kinds of foods and not seeing that a well balanced whole foods diet is going to provide you with a strong foundation and consistent energy source for your life.
Let’s stop beating around Nathans opinion bush and get to the nitty-gritty of some good quality food choices for a simple, high energy, and affordable diet. Let’s start with fruits and vegetables, having a good amount of high-quality fruits and vegetables is something I have found really important for maintaining clear and high energy throughout the day, not to mention they can be delicious (especially fruit) and a far superior alternative to any sources of carbohydrates. The fruits I enjoy the most and find the best for the price in order would be Bananas, various melons, mangoes, berries and avocados if you’d count those. As for vegetables, I will usually buy a couple of bags of frozen mixed veggies a week and then things such as a bunch of kale and some green beans etc.
Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are an incredible source of dietary fat, protein and various other micronutrients for optimal function, buying these can get pricey though especially if you’re into organics. My favourites here would be Hemp seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, and pepitas.
Legumes. Legumes are excellent for protein and usually rather high in vitamin and mineral content, also a great alternative for those wanting to cut down or eliminate meat from there diet. My favourite legumes are Lentils (all kinds but my favourite is red!), chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans.
Grains. Grains are something I’m not too fond of nowadays as they tend to make me feel a little bloated if I eat too much of them, never the less a lot of grains are gonna have huge health benefits are a massive source of dietary fibre and a good source of carbs and protein. My favourites used to include Oats (oats were pretty much the main grain I’d eat, to be honest), Barley, black rice and brown rice.
Animal products. This one can get a little controversial especially coming from a more wholefoods plant-based perspective (duh) I myself was strict vegan for over 4 years and have only recently begun to add back in eggs and honey if they are sourced locally and I can assure the bees and chickens were treated well in the process of attaining them. The only ones I’m going to recommend here are the aforementioned Eggs and Honey. Both of these are usually considered to be highly nutritious and personally, I’ve felt really good eating them thus far. I’m not going to include dairy on this list as it is linked to a massive list of issues in the body not to mention the massive amount of people who are intolerant to it on some level or another is a pretty clear pointer to me, but that’s just one opinion and I know a lot would say otherwise and find it to be a staple in there diets so each to there own.
The peak of Nathan pyramid. As for stuff that I like on the sides I will use high-quality Almond and Cashew milks, Various ferments (Saeurkraut, Kombucha etc), cacao products, (mostly cocoa nibs, sometimes cheeky a bar of dark chocolate) Herbal teas.
That pretty much concludes my rant, again this isn’t all set in stone just some things I’ve picked up along my journey and what I’ve found to increase my energy levels and mental clarity, make no mistake about the value of healthy eating as no matter what you’re going to be doing in this life you’re going to be doing it in your body so making it the utmost importance to take care of it is invaluable.
Let me know what kind of foods you feel work well for you and your opinions on the topic, Thank you for reading have a good one.