January Nutrition – Kent Bowden, DO, FACOS
Nutrition, digging deeper.
I spoke last month about the importance of nutrition and how I related to a patient that if what you’re eating is coming out of a box you are eating the wrong things. I’d like to go a little deeper with that.
Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as taking the food out of a box that makes it healthy, or that anything natural we eat is okay to eat either. The composition of a meal is also critically important. As we build our meals and construct our diets we have to make correct choices. 2B Mindset, a program from Beachbody, is one of the best nutrition aides I have become aware of in recent past. It does not rely on portion measurements, weighing food or taking supplements to keep your body from absorbing the fuel you put into it. To put it simply it helps you to change your relationship with food. One of it’s slogans is as follows, ‘Water first, Veggies most’
Consider yourself, when you are hungry or thirsty or bored what do you reach for? Is it coffee, or soda, or chips, maybe an apple…. Many times we maintain a dehydrated state because we don’t consume enough fluids, we perceive hunger but it may simply be we are thirsty because we are dehydrated. Or when we are thirsty we take in soda or coffee which contain caffeine (even Decaf still has caffeine in it) which is a potent diuretic and will exacerbate our negative fluid balance. We are 60% water. We lose water constantly throughout the day. We call it sensible loss, losses that can be measured (fluids out) and insensible loss, losses that cannot be measured (breathing, perspiration)
So plain and simple – boring old water should be our fluid of choice, many people who carry a lot of excess weight experience huge weight losses quickly by simply eliminating soda. Personally I get bored with water so I keep a sliced lime in mine every day to add a little flavor and keep me consuming. As a surgeon, dehydration is a real concern since I cannot break out of surgery to get a drink. So I challenge you, put down the coffee/latte/soda/diet soda and grab a tall cool drink of water.
Think of the last plate of food you had. If you sliced it into 8 wedges like a pie what percentage of those slices were meat? How many slices were carbohydrates? How many were vegetables? I can tell you the typical American plate is NOT 60-70% veggies. Why are veggies so important? Why did your mother always get on your case about eating them? They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, they are filling, they are complex (it takes your body time to digest them) and they are low in calories. Fill that section first, then add proteins, these are also filled with vitamins and nutrients. Proteins are calories your body has to work hard to access, there are lots of calories but your body has to put the time in to access them. Finally add the carbohydrates: bread, fruit, starches (rice, corn and potatoes). These are plain sugar/carbohydrates, very easily accessed by your body, very quickly absorbed and metabolized and if it met your caloric needs all the other calories you consume will be stored for later use, either to be used quickly in your liver or to be used in a late starvation state in your hips, gut and butt.
As we enter the new year and make plans to improve our health I would encourage you to do an audit on your plate. Take pictures of your plate a few times a week and study it. Do you have a healthy composition to your meal? What is your go to beverage? Are you making decisions for your health? Can you commit to water first and veggies most?