How to Eat Primal in the Modern Man’s World.
Humans love routine; we have a particular route we like to take to work and to the grocery store. We brush our teeth a certain way and fidget the same way. We sleep in the same position and bathe ourselves in the same manner (hopefully we all bathe, anyways).
Our love and programming for routines applies to our diet and lifestyle as well. If you’re accustomed to starting your day with a bowl of cereal, it may be tough to break that habit.
If you’re hungry for a little snack and decide to eat a bowl of ice cream or cookies, it may take a while to reprogram a healthier choice. However, better eating choices are not about restrictions and giving the illusion that you’re “on a diet” (we all have a diet, that’s just the name we use to talk about what we eat, of course). What you need is a “successful diet,” and the keys to this are simple.
Changing the foods that are in your reach can be the catalyst for creating a healthier and happier version of you. Let’s dig a little deeper.
● Swap out margarine, canola oil, and any “fake butters” for real, organic, grass-fed butter (those having an issue with lactose can successfully use grass-fed ghee).
● Swap out your cereal for a bowl of chopped, raw mixed nuts with almond or hemp milk.
● Swap out your ice cream for an organic dairy version or coconut-based ice cream.
● Swap out the processed cheese for organic, raw cheese and reap health and digestive benefits.
● Swap out your bottled filtered water for natural, hydrating spring water.
● Swap out your wheat pasta for a gluten-free rice pasta.
● Swap out your sodas for kombucha or “healthy man’s lemonade” using spring water, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of stevia.
● Swap out your milk chocolate for a 70% plus cacao version of dark chocolate.
● Swap out the sweet candy for some blueberries (you’ll be surprised when your palette changes that blueberries can actually have a hint of sweetness).
● Swap out your slim-jims for some grass-fed jerky or make your own.
● Swap out your aspartame- laden chewing gum for a xylitol based gum.
● Swap out your breads for gluten-free bread, or even better, eliminate bread completely. Gluten-free bread is still bread and therefore has a big impact on your blood sugar levels.
This will get you off to a good start.
Creating A Thriving Enviroment
If all you have around is fake food, all you will eat is fake food. If all you have are healthy choices around, those are the choices you’ll make. It can be a bit more difficult to maintain a healthy regimen if you live with someone who is not on board with your dietary philosophies, but it’s not impossible.
Carving out your section of the pantry, fridge, and freezer for your healthy foods is the first step to long-term dietary success. Eventually you may be able to convert your roommate or whomever you live with to join you, doubling up on healthy food to help one another save money and become exponentially healthier. There are various simple swaps that make a big difference in the nutrient composition of your diet.
Become An Avid Ingredient List Reader & Seek Out Single-Ingredient Foods
If you aren’t one already, becoming an avid ingredient list reader can help you detect and reduce your exposure to any potential bad ingredient that may be behind that mysterious headache or brain fog. Things like MSG can have many sneaky names that still result in the same poor effect.
While ingredient reading may seem cumbersome and obsessive, it’s a quick and easy way to ensure your choices are quality ones. There is an even better secret to being able to avoid the process of reading ingredients, it’s simply eating real food.
By eating one ingredient foods such as bison, berries, almonds, rice, and so on, you eliminate the possibility of becoming a food-choice freak. You won’t have to worry any longer, especially if you prepare the food yourself. Which leads me to the next key foundation of eating real food and worrying less.
Focus On Time Management & Start Cooking
I can prepare a bison steak, medium rare to medium, a large bowl of steamed broccoli, and maybe a side of blueberries and organic white rice in a total of about 15 minutes. If you think that cooking real food simply takes too long and it’s easier just to go grab something, it’s really not.
By the time you drive to your favorite restaurant or food trailer joint, you could have made an entire meal that was probably much more nutrient dense (not to mention cheaper).
Prices vary slightly across the USA and rest of the world, but generally speaking, you can prepare a nice quality meat, vegetable, and side item for around $8-12 a plate. For the amount of nutrient density, lack of pesticides or chemicals, and the pride from preparing the meal for yourself, the bang for your buck really exceeds that of a quick pick me up.
Even if you find a healthy store that sells pre-made meals, it’s easy to take those for granted and simply throw them in the microwave to “nuke it,” therefore, reducing some of the gentle micro-nutrients and enzymes contained in the food that help the whole nutrient absorption process.
Instead, if you develop a better grasp on your schedule, you can easily warm up your healthy meal in a toaster oven to preserve your nutrients, but avoid the “cold pizza” style of eating. The few extra minutes it takes to heat your food this way can give you the extra nutritional advantage you need!
While any cooking method, including roasting and boiling, causes a reduction in nutrients in food, microwaving is by far the most popular version of this degradation process. Several research studies have looked at iodine content and Vitamin C content before and after several different cooking methods.
Iodine, which is crucial for optimal thyroid function, was reduced by 27% via microwave cooking. The other study that looked at microwaving and cooking broccoli found that the mineral content stayed relatively preserved among all cooking methods, and that vitamin C was reduced across the board.
Long story short, microwaves aren’t the worst thing you could do to your food, but preventing the drying out of your food simply tastes better anyways!
Invest In Your Human Vehicle, Not Your Metal Vehicle
I can’t count the times I’ve seen a $60,000 Mercedes SUV in the drive-thru at McDonalds. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything! Save your money on fancy cars and invest in the vehicle that really matters: your body. Your human vehicle is with you for life and this is the only one you get.
Investing in material goods isn’t a sin or anything, but if you have to decide whether to upgrade to an LED TV or invest in a half-carcass of local grass-fed beef for your freezer, opt for the meat!
Then maybe you can use the energy and dietary fuel you’ve received to enhance your mental and physical function, which will then allow you to make more money to finally get that LED TV you’ve been dreaming about. It’s a roundabout way of looking at materialism, but it’s an important distinction to make.
If however, you have the ability to buy your Ray-Ban sunglasses and invest in organic vegetables too, that’s even better! A sustainable, enjoyment of life is a key foundation that I encourage people to discover. If sunglasses and quality food help you get there, go for it.
While you can get a few cheeseburgers, drinks, and fries for $10, you can also get a pound of organic broccoli, a small serving of quality meat topped with butter for about the same price.
Tying It All Together
Ultimately, consuming healthy, clean, and organic food is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Longevity, mental clarity, and the ability to physically exert yourself can all result from diet.
Short bursts of caffeine, energy drinks, and magic potions can temporarily support cognitive function and a martial arts schedule, but for a sustainable, safe, and enjoyable life overall, nutrition is the first stepping stone to throw in front of you.
Each little step in the right direction counts for something. Remember that each bite you take either helps or hurts your health; there is no such thing as “neutral foods.” Make your bites count!