It’s becoming increasingly clear that the standard American diet, dominated by simple carbohydrates, does not nourish or fuel the body for optimal performance in daily life. It also diminishes our energy and leads to excess fat and inflammation inside the body. This is why we encourage a shift to more high-quality, nutrient-dense whole foods. Our recommendations are inspired by the Slow Carb Diet and the Whole30, two widely popular approaches that we believe are far more sustainable and successful than calorie counting diets.
The first step is reducing unhealthy carbohydrates until fully eliminated. These are generally “white” foods: white bread, pancakes, waffles, white rice, chips, dairy, sugar, etc. These simple carbs are quickly digested but lead to high blood sugar and an insulin spike. This excess glucose (aka sugar) in the blood is stored in the body as fat if it is not burned off immediately. To avoid this glucose induced rollercoaster, we recommend incorporating high quality, complex carbs and whole foods. Complex, low glycemic carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down, which results in a slow release of glucose into the blood and thereby keeping our cells nourished for longer periods of time.
We also find that it is very important to be conscious of and limit your sugar intake on a daily basis. This means reducing and ideally eliminating fruits for a period of time, and avoiding all sugar-filled beverages (including alcohol). Additionally, proper hydration is key to energy production and detoxification on the cellular level. Make sure you are consuming enough water for your weight (rule of thumb: half your body weight in ounces of water per day), but we recommend NOT drinking water (or any liquids beyond a few sips while eating) at least 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after eating. This will help accelerate digestion and boost the body’s ability to effectively extract the most nutrients from what you eat.
Last week we asked you to write down the foods that you know have a detrimental effect on your mind and body. Since you started becoming more conscious about how your body has been reacting to what you consume, have you noticed any other changes in energy and mood related to what you’ve been eating?
“By cleansing your body on a regular basis and eliminating as many toxins as possible from your environment, your body can begin to heal itself, prevent disease, and become stronger and more resilient than you ever dreamed possible!”
-Edward F. Group (III)
We’re advocating a nutritional game plan that has worked well for us and the thousands of others who’ve used the Slow Carb or Whole30 approaches to radically change how to eat. We invite you to experiment with us and start moving toward this approach. As we’ve mentioned, inspiration for our PurePower plan is informed by the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss and the Whole30.
The PurePower Plan – Pillar #1: Shift from unhealthy carbs to whole foods
Our approach consists of moving away from the traditional American diet which is generally high in unhealthy, simple carbs. Our goal is to (1) eliminate excess weight/fat, (2) boost energy and resilience, and (3) reduce inflammation in the body. Like the Slow Carb Diet and the Whole30 the PurePower Plan encourages eating more whole foods, and slowly reducing and then fully eliminating highly processed food. The first step is to avoid white foods, white bread, white rice, dairy, sugar, etc. These foods have a high glycemic index that spikes the body’s insulin response, which means the body is left with excess glucose/sugar that circulates in the blood. When our bodies don’t immediately use this sugar for energy needs, it stores that excess sugar as fat. As you phase out those simple carbohydrates and begin to incorporate more veggies, high quality protein, good fats, legumes, and beans, you can expect to lose weight and feel more energetic.
However, it takes time for the body to switch from simple carbs and the insulin/blood sugar spike that follows. To allow your body time to adjust to a new form of eating, it is important to stick to a few simple meals that you eat often. Our bodies are habit driven as well, so we will begin to digest foods better if we consume those foods on a more regular basis.
Examples (incorporate organic as much as possible):
Breakfast – 2 eggs, spinach, side of lentils, pinto or black beans.
Lunch – Salad with high quality protein, nuts & seeds, and avocado.
GUT HEALTH TIP: Our gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria cells that help digest and break down the food we eat. Different bacteria eat different things. The bacteria that digests sugar for us is not the same that digests leafy green veggies. If we feed our microbiome veggies the bacteria that digest those veggies will multiply. Which in turn makes us crave more veggies.
The PurePower Plan – Pillar #2: Limit sugar and don’t drink calories.
Second step is to begin watching your sugar intake. Although fruit and fruit juices are natural and generally better than other artificial sugar alternatives, at the end of the day sugar is sugar. Try to limit high sugar fruits like bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, and replace with fruits like blueberries and blackberries that are lower glycemic and do not spike blood glucose levels like other fruits.
Additionally, we recommend not consuming calories from alcohol. For a period of 30 days we encourage you to stay away from beer (due to the high carb content) and limit yourself to a moderate amount of wine (one or two glasses a day). Importantly, as described below, you should not drink any substantial amount of liquids (including water) while you eat.
Along these lines, a key for proper nutrition is proper hydration. Your cells need to be optimally hydrated to perform at their best. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. Especially if you’re a highly physically active person.
It’s also important to be conscious about the timing of your beverage intake. Drinking a lot of liquids during your meals interrupts digestion. Your stomach requires a high acidic environment to properly prepare the food you ate to be digested in the small intestine. Adding neutral or alkaline water will reduce the acidity which results in difficulty in digestion.
This all may seem like a lot of information to begin integrating into your life. That is why it’s key to start small and integrate these new habits slowly. Pick one new habit to start with and see how your body reacts. This could be making sure that you’re hydrated, everyday. Or if you’re ready for the challenge, commit do implementing our PurePower Plan for 30 days. Let us know how we can support you.
Next week we are going more in-depth on how best to set yourself up for success, by ditching the old yo-yo dieting habits that often rely on willpower that doesn’t work.