When it comes to food there are 3 questions:  how much, how often and of what quality?  I have noticed that my clients fall in to three categories:

  • – “The Minimalist” tends to skip breakfast and eat too few calories.
  • – “The Crave-ers”  crave either sugar or carbohydrates.
  • – “Too Busy to Cook”  grab a meal at a restaurant or take-out food.

No judgment here; I am just stating what I have observed in styles of eating.  At Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, co-founder Deborah Szeksly would say, “Calories in, Calories out”.  ‘Calories in’ is the food we consume.  ‘Calories out’ is our activity level.

How Often:  3 meals + up to 2 snacks

Breakfast is important because your body fasts while you sleep.  Upon waking, your body needs nutrition.  Breakfast is not defined as ham and eggs or an omelette.  Break-fast is the food with which we start our day.  Simply eating breakfast can boost your metabolism  There are many different choices of course.  Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit, perhaps a handful of raw almonds can be an ‘on the go’  breakfast.  You can have it ready to grab as you walk out the door.

When we consume too few calories our body goes into starvation mode and converts muscle into fat, to store.  When we eat regularly our body’s metabolism is enhanced.

How Much:

This is a more complex question.  If I knew your weight, age and Basal Metabolic Rate I could figure the number of total calories that you “should” consume a day to maintain your body composition or to achieve a weight loss goal.  The Fitbit I spoke of in my first blog shows me how many calories I ‘can’ eat based on my activity level on any given day.  There is also a wonderful site, Vitabot on which you can record what you eat.  It displays a report card so that you know what nutrients you are receiving a rich supply of and others your food choices may not include.  There are many other sites as well such as  Caloriecounter and Lance Armstrong’s site, Livestrong.

Ideally, the protein you choose should be about the size of your fist and the other 3/4 of your plate would be complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates contain fiber and nutrients that are metabolized more slowly than simple sugars.  This helps prevent sudden increases or drops in blood sugar.

“Crave-ers” would benefit from the Glycemic Index.  This lists food based on the amount of insulin that is produced to process that food.  Meat, cheese, strawberries are very low on this scale.  Rice, Basmati for instance is one of the highest.  So do we not eat the foods with the high numbers on this index?  Of course not, we quantify.  Instead of 3 cups of rice how about 1.5 cups with 2 cups of salad?    The same rule applies; what I can quantify I can control.

My rule is, if you crave sugar, eat some protein.  Try it; protein is complex and digests more slowly than sugars.  There is no sudden rise and decline of blood sugar levels.

The quality of our nutrition may suffer when we eat out or grab take-out food on a regular basis.  A good book that delineates chain restaurant choices, if this is your lifestyle, is Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds–or More!

The experts recommend 3 servings of fruits per day and 2/5 cups of vegetables a day.  Fiber plays an important role in our health.  Complex carbohydrates, such as an apple has fiber.  These slow down the release of insulin into your blood stream.  The example I gave above for breakfast could include blueberries and a banana.  Two of the three fruit serving would be satisfied; antioxidants and vitamins abound.

Preparing and eating natural foods can be one of life’s pleasures.  Organic fruits and vegetables are preferred.  Reading labels is very important.  We want to put food, not additives and stabilizers into our systems.  If you can’t pronounce it on the label, you probably don’t want to put it in your body.

You may notice that by being aware of how much, how often and the quality of what you are  eating allows you to adjust so that you feel great!

Whisper of the Breath Diva:  In this moment…I can inhale and nourish myself.