The CrossFit Teens class grinds through burpees.
The Myth of the Perfect Human Diet
There is no one size fits all perfect diet. The perfect diet is the one that gives you enough energy to do all of the things you want to, provides enough macro- and micro nutrients to keep you fully functioning, and enough calories so that you don't accumulate excess calories as body fat.
For the most part, humans are meant to eat real food. We are meant to chew, swallow and digest a variety of foods. While we may elect to drink some or our calories, the majority of our calories need to be masticated.
When I was attending the Masters Training camp at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) nutrition was front and center for all athletes. Resident athletes and campers get special classes on nutrition and supplementation and we are given plenty of educational materials on the value of real whole foods. Nutrition education and counseling at the OTC is a food first approach.
For the past 5 years I have been writing weekly about food and nutrition and I also take a food first approach. I endorse the CrossFit guidelines of eating meat, vegetables, nut & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. You'll notice that this nutrition prescription is a food first approach. There's nothing about shakes, pills, bars, and other diet supplements.
However, within the context of food first, there are a variety of eating strategies. For example, you can be vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, Mediterranean, pescatarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, alcohol-free, locavore, etc. There are so many strategies because there is not one perfect human diet! Keto works for some, but it might not work for others. Some folks are just happy being vegan, whereas others might falter and fail.
That is why we're doing the 800g Challenge for our Summer Nutrition Challenge. It is a whole foods approach that is totally flexible based on your nutrition goals and preferences. You can be vegetarian, low carb, Keto, or Paleo on this challenge. You can eat whatever you want as long as you eat 800g of fruits and vegetables every day.
Why eat 800g of fruits and vegetables? There is a growing body of scientific evidence that eating 800g (about 2 cups at every meal) of fruits and vegetables provides us with all the amazing micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and a very important good for you macronutrient - carbohydrates. Research shows 800g is the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables we should eat for health.
So what does 800g look like if you're Paleo, a fruitivore, or low carb? It looks like this:
The perfect diet is the one you can stick with and that makes you feel and look good. The challenging part of finding what works best for you, is that you must do just that - find out what works. It involves a lot of experimentation and a realization that what worked for you when you were a teenager will not necessarily work for you in your 30s, and what worked in your 30s will probably need to change as you continue to age. That's why were doing the 800g Challenge. You might just find that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat will be the missing piece in your diet.
Since we have a few weeks before we start our 800g Challenge why not start with 500g of fruits and vegetables this week? Add 100g each week until you're ready to start the 800g Challenge with all of us on Monday, Aug 5. âBe sure to email or direct message Coach Leslie and let her know you're ready for the #800gchallenge.
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