I often like to use the following nutrition analogy: building a strong house is a lot like building a strong or healthy self.
Imagine a scenario where you were given the task of building a house. For this task, you were presented a large number of tools or materials ranging from lego bricks to power tools. The quality level of your house would depend on your skill level and the efficiency of the tools and materials you chose, correct?
When it comes to diet and nutrition, building a strong/lean healthy self is very similar. Every day, we are presented with a large variety of tools or materials we can use to improve our bodies…ultimately, it’s our choices and skill level behind those decisions that determine how efficient we are toward meeting our goals.
Compare the tools/materials needed with their level of efficiency below:
|Level Of Efficiency||Tools Needed for Building a Strong House||Tools Needed for Building a Strong/Lean and Healthy Self|
|Excavator, Power Tools, Wood/Metal||Whole foods, Water, Sleep/Recovery|
|Shovel, Hand Tools, Plastic||Min Possessed food, Convenience Supps, Meal Prep Service|
|Craft Supplies, Children’s Toys (Lego Bricks, etc.)||Fad Diets, Processed Foods, Fast Foods, Anything that promises you a shortcut|
more effective nutrition "tools"
These “tools” provide a greater return on their “caloric investment” with more vitamins, fiber, and visual “this-will-register-as-food-in-my-brain” factor.
- Whole Foods (I give examples of these in my book along with grocery shopping lists divided by major store chains)
- Drinking 1 gallon of water a day
- Egg Whites, protein powder, whole grain/ sprouted breads, tofu, seitan, **1-2 ingredient max canned (tuna, beans), frozen berries, premade rice packs, rice cakes, hummus, nut/seed butter spreads
- Supplements: Multi-vitamin, fish oil, creatine, a natural pre workout
- Super Foods: Wheatgrass, Cinnamon, Blueberries, Avocados, Broccoli Rabe, Salmon, Sweet Potatoes, Goji Berries, Raw Milk, Almonds, Kale, Spirulina, Acai Berries, Coconuts, Flaxseeds, Hemp seeds, Chia Seeds, Cacao powder, Maca powder, Nutritional yeast, Seaweed.
- Reputable meal prep service (Bulk order proteins and carbs to save on meal prep time)
less effective nutrition "tools"
Low Return on their “caloric investment” with less vitamins, fiber, and visual “this will register as food in my brain” factor
- Processed Foods (AKA most of the items in store aisles, and fast food)
- Too-good-to-be-true products (Fat Blockers, Carb Blockers, Slim Teas, Weight loss products, Mentalism boosters)
- But Neeks they back backed us studies to prove these “products really work” #KeepReading
- Mass gainers, chemical pre workouts, the majority of any sort of “protein infused treats”
- Foods that claim to be:
- “all natural”, “zero trans-fat”, “high protein”, “high fiber”, “Low carb”, “gluten free”, “fat free”, “added omega”
- Often alcohol consumption (more than 3 times a month)
In the end, yes, you can build a house with poor tools and materials but don’t be frustrated when it breaks down often, looks horrible, and costs you a ton of money to attempt to fix after the fact!
Alternately, you can look at this “home building” exercise as you building the only home you forever have to live in…your body! If you want a home with a strong foundation that is going to last you YEARS, start focusing on building your dream house using those “more effective tools.”
the hard to swallow pills...
Most of the health claims being made for these “dream products” have studies that are funded by the companies that are trying to make a profit off of your lack of knowledge and or interest in EVER opening and reading one of these “studies.”
Legally speaking, a company is not lying when they say their product will help you lose weight if the trial group lost even ½ a pound over the course of 10 weeks
Example: Hydroxucut Gummies “People using the key ingredient in Hydroxycut® Gummies (C. canephora robusta) in a 60-day study lost an average of 10.95 lbs. with a low-calorie diet, and 3.7 lbs. in a separate 8-week study with a calorie-reduced diet and moderate exercise. View full study here.”
- Fun fact it wasn’t the gummies that made them lose the weight… They stuck to a BLAND LOW CALORIE DIET which is the part most people who are buying these gummies NEED HELP WITH.
- What this trial did was put overweight people in a CALORIC DEFICIT which is THE ONLY WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT
If the food item you’re contemplating buying has a marketing team, has a commercial, or claims to be something superior than other products, I would avoid or limit them as often as possible.
Examples: Quaker Plain Old Fashioned Oats don’t have advertisements on TV, but the prepackaged flavored apple cinnamon ones do. Chicken breast doesn’t have a marketing team but McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets or Tyson Crispy Chicken strips do. Health energy bars and protein treats claim to be a whole lot of thigs yet a banana and a handful of raw nuts for a quick source of energy have zero hype.
- Foods that have ZERO HYPE are forever going to be the best tools for you to succeed.
- Foods that companies can’t mass produce in a factory are not genetically modified to make your brain do fireworks and become addicted are the tools that will give you the HIGHEST RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT.
It’s not that you can’t succeed using less effective tools…I just personally don’t like to be that inefficient.
One more analogy for some more perspective:
If you had to dig 10 feet down to get to some fragile rare dinosaur bones… I want you to think of the tools you would start using and their order…
- First you would start with huge excavator for the first 8ish feet, then maybe go in using a full size shovel
- Second once all the bulk of the work is done you would switch up your tools to really safely expose the bones one layer of dirt at a time (a hand shovel, metal tools, a brush, etc.)
Starting to worry or focus on ANYTHING other than those (highly effective tools explained above) prior to getting the bulk of the work done is like starting your journey with a brush trying to get 10 feet down to those dinosaur bones.
It’s not that there are no supplements out there with good research to enhance all of your good work… I’m just saying don’t look silly using a brush to start all your digging at the beginning of your journey…. There’s a time and a place for different tools!