I’m 2/3 of the way through a master of science in nutrition program and I’m getting questioned about my own diet.
“You’re a nutritionist and you’re eating fries?”
“You eat bagels? I thought you were healthy.”
“You crave chocolate?”
Yeah, knowing a whole lot about human nutrition doesn’t make a person less human. Here is an absolute I learned since starting this program: You can eat what you want. In my opinion, a good nutritionist will work with you to include your favorite foods because if they don’t, what are the odds you would stick with your diet plan?
So yes, I make room for the occasional fries and bagel. I make room for frequent helpings of chocolate. I allow myself to go wild when I’m on vacation.
But I have made a lot of changes to my diet since starting the program (even when I’m on vacation). Here’s what I’ve changed and a quick explanation of why.
- I eat very little red meat. We’re talking about three ounces per month. Why? It’s a known carcinogen and is sustainable at the rate of about 6 ounces per month. Your body and the planet can only handle about one three-ounce patty every other week.
- I cut way down on salt. Why? This is the biggest contributor to health-related deaths. Simply put, the salt in a typical American diet is killing you.
- I eat more fruits and vegetables. I’ve made it a priority to eat at least 5 servings a day. The reason is my body needs the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. When I consume them, I leave less room in my belly and time in my break to consume less-nutritious foods.
- I distribute protein at every meal. The body likes when it gets protein regularly throughout the day. So, I’ll have some nut butter with breakfast, some beans with lunch, and a little chicken with dinner.
- Protein is not the star of my meal anymore. Americans eat too much. The typical macronutrient range should be 10-35 percent protein, 20-35 percent fat, and 45-65 percent carbohydrates. Note that ideally carbs are fruits, veggies, and whole grains.