My Nutritional Formula for Optimal Performance
Eat upon awakening in the morning: this does not mean that we have to cook or go out for breakfast; it’s as simple as opening an energy bar or pouring cereal and skim milk into a cup and drinking it.
Eat frequently: Eat at least at least 4 and as many as 6 times per day. Do not let 3 hours go by where you do not eat. The evidence shows that when we eat in response to being famished that we will consume more calories than if we eat before getting hungry. In addition, based on the principles that govern the process of cellular metabolism by the time that we feel hungry our cells’ efficiency at converting our nutrients into energy that we can actually use goes down and you know what that means? The cells will store more of the food that we eat as fat.
Consume 4 to 6 grams of Fiber each time that you eat: Fiber while classified as a carbohydrate, in the pure sense, is not a nutrient at all in that the human intestine does not have the necessary enzyme for absorbing fiber into the blood stream. Therefore, it is not metabolized, or used as a source of energy for life processes. However, due to its unique properties, fiber slows down the absorption rate of food from the intestines into the blood stream . This is why it is essential to consume fiber every time that we eat; as a result of this slower rate of absorption, the 40 trillion cells that make up our bodies can more efficiently capture the energy (calories) from the food that we eat for activities such as thinking, moving, growing our bones, our hair and our skin and leaving less total calories to store in our bodies in the form of fat. In addition, by not being absorbed and remaining in our digestive tracts, fiber enhances satiety, making us feel fuller from less food.
When people on fiber deficient diets gradually increase their fiber intake to the recommended level of 25 grams per day, they drop weight, they can sustain this weight loss, improve their blood levels of sugar and cholesterol, cut their risk of heart disease, improve their bowel regularity and cut their risk of developing Diverticulitis of the colon. 1 Pretty impressive effects for something that never even gets inside the human body. Isn’t it nice, for once that someone is telling you what you should eat instead of what you should not eat?
Eat before you are hungry! This sounds counterintuitive, and will make many dietitians cringe but, compare the task of learning to eat before you are hungry to the task of trying to not eat when you are hungry. It is a behavioral change that is readily achievable, and is more in synch with how our cells use energy most efficiently. In fact, hunger puts us in a sub-optimal functional state in which we are more prone to make mistakes and to fly off the handle. Eating often enough to preempt hunger, however, will keep your performance and your mood on a more even keel. Numerous studies have demonstrated that when people eat before they are hungry they eat fewer calories as compared to when they eat in response to being hungry.2 In addition, more frequent eating leads to a higher rate of efficiency of our cellular metabolism, making it more likely that the food that we eat becomes energy used by our bodies and not stored as fat around our bodies.3
Sources of Fiber: Look at the nutrients labels and check out what you are getting. Here are my general guidance with a few personal recommendations:
- Whole Grain Cereals: 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving: the entire line of Kashi cereals ; there are many other Cereals on the market that have 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving
- Whole Grain Breads: 2 to 4 grams of fiber per slice.
- Whole Grain Crackers: > 3 grams of fiber per serving (Kashi brand, once again)
- Fruits and Vegetables in general are good sources of fiber.
- Soy, which is a vegetable, is high in protein as well as fiber. Here are some soy recommendations:
- Edamame; try Melissa’s brand. It is in the frozen section. Microwave it for 2 minutes and add course kosher salt; it’s awesome.
- Boca Brand of burgers and sausages (it’s all soy and actually tastes great)
- Morning Star is another brand of the faux meat products (and I am not a vegetarian)
- Trail Mixes: with 5 grams of fiber per serving these are extremely practical because of how portable they are. Trail mixes can vary in their content quite a bit; some are more candy than anything else. Just check the nutrient content for the and go for it. This is something you can keep in the car at your desk in backpacks, purses, brief cases, etc.
- Energy Bars: 3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving.
- Cliff Bars
- Kashi GoLean
Here is a plug for Starbucks because they seem to get it. They have prepackaged trays such as their protein breakfast with apple, peanut butter, whole wheat bagel, hardboiled egg, cheeses and grapes.They make their sandwiches on high fiber bread. They sell individual small packages of trail mixes. While on the pricey side, they deserve credit for offering truly healthy food.
To Summarize: Eat 4 to 6 times per day and eat 4 to 6 grams of fiber each time that you eat. If you make F2 your focus, you will see that your dietary fats, carbohydrates and proteins will fall into place, your function (performance) and mood will improve and, the bathroom scale will most definitely do the right thing.