Portion Size… How Much Should I Eat?
Have we outsourced our appetite? How do you know how much to eat? Being satisfied with a meal has become synonymous with eating one plate highly piled, a sigh of relief when we’re full then making a little extra room for a something sweet after no matter what. However, eating this way we’re neglecting what we need. Getting in numerous calories and consuming above and beyond our nutrients needs is taking its toll.
We’ve outsourced our appetite
We watch people cook more than we cook ourselves. We can hunt and gather instantly with the movement of two fingers on a device much closer than our farmers markets or even the short walk to our fridge. We seek permission from food marketers and advertisers on how many carbs, proteins and fats to consume. Which ultimately leads to weight gain because we’ve eaten more energy than we’ve expended. Something is causing us to eat more food than we need. What has happened? We’ve outsourced our appetite.
Take Nutrition Into Your Own Hands
Food isn’t optional. It’s our responsibility. There’s no advertiser or marketing department to give nutritional wisdom unique to each person to the medical curriculum. Doctors already have to go to school forever to be able to recognize an emergency, as well as the rarest of all pathologies, in all humans. It’s ridiculous to expect the medical community to also be responsible for learning math and physics in addition to biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and how to deal with humans in pain. It’s time to give them a break and take some personal responsibility.
Getting back to the basics, that’s exactly what we need: basics before processed foods, what we need before what we want, or even what we think we want because chances are we’re addicted to those foods. Portioning your foods in relation to each other and in variety could be the healthiest thing you could do for your longevity.
Getting Back to the Food Basics
Since a lot of us are sugar detoxing, it’s safe to say we all pretty much know we’ve got a problem with sugar in our diet. Recent research and mainstream media have condemned it to be probably our biggest disease indicator. We all feel so much better when we finally get sugar balanced in our body! However, it’s not so much that we’ve consumed too much sugar in general. It’s also that we’ve consumed too many carbs, which has logically lead us to believe that we should cut all carbs. But we need carbohydrates. The problem is rather all the food that we eat that causes a blood sugar spike; processed foods, conventional dairy and food sensitivities as well as the stress in our lives all cause blood sugar spikes.
Grains are a big blood sugar spiker too, especially when they’re refined into flours. They’re taking the place of other foods and we’re missing the necessary diversity our brains are wired to seek for micronutrients needed to fuel our bodies optimally. For instance, for dinner you’re making a spaghetti bolognese. Instead of using processed wheat pasta, try zucchini ribbons to accommodate your veggie needs rather than fill your body with empty calories.
The Problem with Packaged and Processed Foods
Convenience, packaged and processed food adds sugar and “franken-fats” or trans fats to our diet. So much of what’s wrong with the SAD (Standard American Diet) is that many of the foods our bodies weren’t ever meant to digest, so they’re just stored until a time they can be sorted out, which for many is never. This raises the question on what about healthy fats? The best advice in searching for them is that fats store toxins so it’s a good rule of thumb to choose the most pristine source you can; namely pastured, organic and grass fed.
Finally proteins, which like healthy fats, are only as good as their source. We are what we eat eats. So, make sure what you don’t consume meat being fed grains, processed, sugar laden and “franken-fat” shelf stable choices you yourself are avoiding.
The Paleo Rule of Thumb for Fats, Carbs and Proteins
A great starting principle is 40:30:30 (carbs: fats: proteins) of your plate, where most of your carbs come from green leafy vegetables (and a few starches like sweet potatoes as sides now and then); your proteins from pasture raised and organic when possible; your healthy fats from the most pristine sources. However, this is just a start. You need to learn what your body likes and how food makes you feel. Try keeping a food diary for at least a week and track your feelings after eating: you know your body better than anyone.
- Excess fats/ proteins – leave you feeling lethargic, ‘heavy’ and sleepy and with a dull mood
- Excess carbohydrates – leave you feeling headache-y, jittery and jumpy in the mind or with brain fog, nervous/anxious and tired, and you seem to get hungry quickly
When we eat right for our unique needs, our energy is restored. It’s a good, lasting, sense of energy not a physical fullness accompanied with an inability to think clearly or quickly. Take control of your own plate and portion up your carbs, proteins and fats to your needs. If you eat the right balance and variety of a bit of everything, your body will tell you when it’s time to put down the knife and fork. And you’ll be a lot happier and healthier for it.