In my last post I talked about finding health through a combination of 3 things – your mind, your body, and the foods that you eat. Each of those components is a world unto itself, so today I am going to start with the one that most people seek me out for – the food. What should you be eating? How much should you be eating? When should you be eating? Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Pegan, Shmeegan (ok, I made that one up, but you get the picture). It can seem so overwhelming, so confusing, and like the answer to the “what should I be eating?” question is always changing.
I focus on more than just food in my approach to health because health encompasses so much more than just the food that we eat. Food is part of our everyday lives, it can be entwined so intricately with emotion, feelings of worth, sabotage, celebration, and so much more than simply the components of the dish. So I wanted to simplify it as much as possible to help you finally answer the “what should I be eating?” question in a way that is attainable, sustainable, and just makes sense. Then, you can start exploring the other aspects of health with a full, happy tummy :)
My PHFC Balanced Approach to Eating
Let me explain what that means. Simply put, calories come from four sources – protein, fat, carbohydrates, and alcohol. I like to say that we save our alcohol for indulgences (if that’s your thing and you are of age, of course), and focus our attention on the other 3 macronutrients. No matter the source, you are getting your fuel from protein, fat, and carbs. It can be a double decker with cheese, side of fries, and a coke, or it can be a field green salad with wild caught salmon, garlic crostini and balsamic vinaigrette. Either way, you’re looking at protein, fat, and carbs.
The big issue isn’t the quantity, but rather the quality of the foods that you are eating. Make the most of the foods you are eating and pack them with as many nutrients as possible. You can do that easily by remembering these 4 letters – PHFC. Protein (P), Healthy Fats (HF), and High Fiber Carbohydrates (HFC).
Balance your meals and snacks with protein, healthy fats, and high fiber carbohydrates throughout the day and you will feel satisfied by the foods you eat, they will sustain you between meals, and you will avoid those blood sugar spikes and crashes that lead to cravings and low energy. When you focus on PHFC balanced meals, it helps eliminate unhealthy additives, preservatives, fillers, and added sugars as you fill your plate with nutrient dense foods. If you put good quality food into your body, you are more likely to get good quality results.
Choose quality protein from animal sources, plant based sources, or a combination of the two, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and avocados that will fuel your body and brain, and high fiber carbs like fruits and vegetables that will provide sustained energy and fiber for the health of your gut.
What you eat is important, why you eat it is also important. Starting to balance out your meals and snacks will help you as you begin getting in touch with the foods your body likes and doesn’t like, and listening to the cues your body is giving you about how to fuel yourself the proper amount.
Balancing a PHFC Plate
When you look at your PHFC balanced plate it should look something like this :
½ plate is non-starchy veggies
¼ plate is protein
¼ plate is starchy veggies or whole grain
Garnish with fat
You get to fill in the blanks, you get to choose your own adventure and eat the foods you love without the rules and restrictions or another diet. Use good quality ingredients, eat real food, fuel your body with nutrients, and enjoy the foods that you eat.
Start taking a look at your meals and snacks. Are they balanced? Maybe you are missing protein at lunch. And then start to connect the dots of how you feel later on. Are you hungry soon after you finish eating? Do you find it really hard to avoid something sweet in the afternoon? Do you overeat at dinner and then find yourself munching that evening? Begin putting these pieces together and observing how the foods you eat make you feel.
Try balancing out your meals and snacks this week using my PHFC approach and let me know how you felt!
Stay healthy, friends!