Over the past decade I have looked at thousands upon thousands of dietary recalls or diaries and I can count the number of goody two shoes humans who have eaten enough vegetables on one hand. Davis and I are always looking for the simple side of complexity and to me after we get the dietary wheels on the car, it all comes down to snacking.
To give props where they are due, after some tug of rope, my clients generally do a very good job with their main meals. A plate of organic meat, veggies, quality fat, and depending on their activity and goals a clean carb source (individualized to them). The biggest eff ups happen either at breakfast or in-between meals. Why? Because this is when we culturally lose our marbles. Donuts and coffee. Fistfuls of jelly beans. Melted candy bars hidden under car seats. Dr. Pepper and hot Cheeto fingers. I have seen it all.
Now do I think that trail mix is a step up from the aforementioned atrocities? Well, yes, but honestly not much. Much like high school, I want the vast majority of the eating occasions that my clients consume to be positive influences. Nuts may have some quality fats, but they honestly aren’t that high quality (walnuts are the qualitiest), and people tend to forget that calories do matter and these bad boys a dense. Also, nuts that aren’t properly prepared have more phytates than grains and nuts are very common allergens. Mix all this with M&Ms and I am just not sold. Yet, the biggest reason I am not a fan of trail mix and bar-itis, is the fact that people aren’t eating vegetables. And honestly, who in their right mind counts and eats 7 almonds.
My clients then ask, “Well fancy nutrition man, what do I snack on?”
*if they have solid blood sugar control combined with an HPA axis that is online I will just take out snacks completely and add more real meals if necessary. **This may be even more rare than the goody two shoes veggie eaters.
and for those that really do need to eat more often.
Enter the mini meal.
To their dismay I say, “Have another meal….just a little smaller.”
“You mean more high quality meat, fat, organic vegetables, and maybe a clean carb source?”
They start loading their glocks and sharpening their knives. No you will not take my cashews you heathen! Freedom…and they come back 4 days later.
I know this isn’t easy and it really does take some grit to live counter culturally. It also means you need to be prepared and have some stocked Pyrex containers handy in the fridge with tasty mini meals that you look forward to grubbing down on.
But, for real I have seen way too many nice people convince themselves they are eating all high and mighty well when they have a handful of vegetables with lunch and dinner mixed with 16 servings of gorp, 12 bars, and 4 gluten free muffins each week. Don’t believe me? Run an experiment. Drop all the non-sense packaged snacks and pre-made items (paleo, vegan, kosher, or otherwise) and eat only real food that you prepare for a few weeks and see how it feels.
By: Ben House
*Now that you are eating all good and stuff, try chewing, getting some extra sleep, scheduling some time for play, and lifting enough weights for you. The ball just keeps on rolling. Enjoy it.
** I know what some of you may be thinking, well there is no way I can eat that many vegetables. To which I would counter perhaps you have an underlying GI issue that we need to look into. Ba-dom-ting.
***Out of respect for Ron Swanson, there are no Ron Swanson references in this post.