What a person eats for their own health is based on their individual needs and preferences. One person’s food is another person’s poison. But I get asked a lot what I eat, so today I’m sharing what a Health Coach eats in a day.
We all have different preferences when it comes to food, fashion, music, lifestyle and even food. When I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, it was stressed that not one diet can work for everyone. It is important to remember bio-individuality when it comes to recommendations for clients. By focusing on each individual’s needs, it becomes less about calories, macros, protein and carbs, and more about what they’re body needs based on who they are and what their goals are.
This idea of bio-individuality has played a huge role in my life as a health coach both as a provider and my own patient. I was the biggest advocate for counting points when it came to shedding for the wedding. But that lifestyle is not sustainable because it became so addicting and unhealthy. I began eating foods just because they fit into my points for the day rather than choosing foods that would provide me with energy, alleviate inflammation and make me feel well. After the wedding, the weight came back even though I was sticking to my daily points so I had to listen to my body and stop counting and just eat.
Listening to my body allowed me to eat when I was hungry and eat what I was craving. This made food more enjoyable and more healing. So when it comes to my way of eating, I follow a whole foods diet consisting of fresh vegetables, meat, and fish while excluding legumes, dairy, gluten and soy. Over the past 5 years I have learned what is best for my body, what causes inflammation and irritation and how to eat to fuel my mind and body.
One of the hardest things to do when starting a wellness journey is knowing what to eat. Many people want to be told what to eat and when. They want boxes to define themselves — Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, etc. But those labels don’t allow for any wiggle room and cause guilt when something off plan is eaten. I don’t love labels, but instead use a balanced diet of whole foods, vegetables, organic meat and wild fish. If I’m craving a brownie, I think to myself if it is worth it and how I will feel after I eat it. Sometimes all I need is one bite to satisfy a craving and other times I admit to myself that I’m bored or dehydrated and I don’t really need the brownie. It’s about getting in tune with your body, your environment and how you want to feel.
As a health coach I love working with people to break free of food boundaries they’ve place on themselves in the past. This helps them live a life filled with joy, freedom and without fear. But because we all like to know what to eat, I’d thought I’d share a few things I eat in a day, as a reference for others.
The first thing I do when I wake up is get in tune with my body. I drink a glass of lemon water first thing before eating to hydrate my body. Lemon water first thing in the morning helps flush out toxins that have built up over night and rev up your metabolism. I love a hearty breakfast in the morning with with a balanced plate of healthy fats, protein and carbs.
Side note, don’t be afraid of carbs and fat. There are 2 types of carbohydrates — simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are process in the body as sugar and make you hungry shortly after eating whereas complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down and therefore keep you feeling fuller longer. Examples of simple carbs include: white bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, packaged foods. Complex carbs include: broccoli, sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, and bananas.
But I digress….so breakfast is usually sweet potatoes, pasture raised eggs, sugar free bacon and lots of vegetables.
Another great breakfast is leftovers or salads — this definitely takes some getting used to but breaking free of what a breakfast food is will give you tons of freedom in what you eat in the morning!
I love salads for lunch because they’re light, easy, clean, can be bought mostly anywhere, easy to customize and can be made of anything! I love making mason jar salads to bring with me on the go when I have a busy day. Some days I’ll treat myself to a bag of clean chips like Jackson’s Honest for some added crunch (made with coconut oil). Salads can be made with a base of greens and veggies. Proteins can be very versatile including canned wild salmon, shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, or leftovers!
I cook dinner like I’m a family of 6. The cashier at Trader Joe’s has been known to ask if I’m having a party because of the amount of food I purchase. But cooking in bulk makes it easy to have dinners prepared for a few nights (or for leftovers at any meal). This way I’m not in the kitchen every night. Being prepared helps keep me from wanting to order in or eat something because it’s convenient.
I love making meatballs or meat sauces because they’re easy to cook in large batches. It’s so easy to throw meatballs over zoodles, or adding a bolognese to spaghetti squash and making a casserole. To keep from getting in a rut with dinner, make the meals fun. Change up the spices, sauces or veggies. I also meal prep roasted veggies every Sunday so I can just pick out of a container and reheat them. Roasted broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts are my go to!
I am the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth. I grew up with homemade desserts around the house so I never feel satisfied after a meal without something sweet. I’ve learned over the years to embrace this and decide when it is and isn’t worth it to have dessert. I don’t ever want to have dessert just because I feel like I need to, but rather have it because I want to enjoy it. Refined sugar free almond butter cacao bliss balls can always be found in my freezer. This helps when I do get a craving for something sweet. I can just pick one and enjoy it without making a huge ordeal or making dessert.
But sometimes you have to get fancy and make dessert truly worth it. That’s when I indulge in homemade brownies that are decadent an delicious. When deciding on desserts or snacks just listen to your body and decide if it’s truly worth it and how it will make you feel after you eat it. Don’t ever feel guilty for the choices you make — just recognize them as what your body truly wanted!
I hope this guide helps you on your wellness journey. Just remember that what I eat might not be what your body truly needs. So pay attention to what you’re craving and what will make you feel your best. Enjoy the food you eat!
Originally published at www.balancedlife-leslie.com on February 17, 2017.