5 Small Nutrition Tweaks That Make a BIG Difference

They say it’s the little things that make all the difference, and this is especially the case when it comes to nutrition. Although, I’d take it one step further and say it’s the little things done consistently that make all the difference. Since this is usually the piece that’s holding people back from reaching their health and physique goals.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle

Deciding what to eat and what not to eat is one thing, while actually doing it, and actually doing it day-in and day-out, is another. Hence the reason Live It NOT Diet! uses a set of principles to keep you on course; or as I like to say in the book, “protect you from yourself.”

We don’t eat a bite of dessert every day, because our Feast Day is at the end of the week, and we don’t consume just a salad for lunch because Meat is Mandatory at main meals. These are the principles, and those abiding by them understand that this DAILY behavior will get them to their goals. They recognize that these small things can add up to big things when executed consistently.

measuring-waist-to-hip-ratio

Today’s post is about adding a few more of these small things to your routine. But unlike the book, they have more to do with your cooking and consumption behavior, as opposed to your food choice and timing.

1. Avoid Drinking Water Before, During & After Meals

When you’re not digesting, you’re not absorbing, and you’re putting yourself at risk of deficiency and damage. Since undigested food stresses the gastrointestinal tract, and sets the stage for bacterial overgrowth and gut permeability.

Yes, that’s an extreme outcome, but it’s exactly what happens to those that chronically abusing the system – going through life chowing down like a duck, dealing with the obvious systems of indigestion (bloating, heartburn, discomfort), before turning to Antacids or other digestive aids that only make things worse.

What they really need is stress-free digestion, with an enzyme and acid secreting stomach that lights a fire to breakdown all that food.

Obviously this starts with eliminating crappy carbs, chewing your food, and slowing (the F) down, but it also means embracing the belly burn, instead of throwing water on it.   And understanding that there’s a time to eat and digest, and a time to hydrate.

drinking-water-with-meals

2. Cook Double Dinners

Making extra food at dinner is a suggestion made in Live It NOT Diet!, but it’s technically not one of the 14 Principles, so it’s worth regurgitating here.   Basically, the more ready-to-eat food you have available, the easier it is to make good decisions.  Whether you end up eating it for lunch or breakfast the next day, or whether it sits in your fridge til hunger strikes when you’re in a hurry two days from now.

If you’re single, cook for 2. If you’re married, cook for 4. And if you have a couple kids, cook for an army!

3. Clear Your Plate Intelligently (Weakness First)

Generally speaking, men eat their greens last, and women eat their meat last; resulting in missed meat for her and missed greens for him. When what they should both be leaving is missed starch, as it’s not a priority, and neither one can afford what they’re leaving behind.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. Since women are notorious for under-eating animal protein, they need to eat ALL the meat on their plate before moving on to their greens, and consuming all of those before moving on to the starch (if there is any).

women-clearing-plate-properly

And since men are notorious for under-eating greens, they need to start there before moving on to their beloved meat/fish.

men-clearing-plate-properly

Obviously, a mixed meal (like a stir-fry) is a different ball game, but the rule is a gem for your classic Meat & Potatoes. As essentially, you need to eat what you don’t want while you’re appetite is elevated, and work your way over to that delicious potato…if you make it that far.

4. Eat More at Meals & Less Between Meals

Unfortunately, the calorie-restriction, portion-control nonsense of the last 50 years has given us the false reassurance that leaving food on our plate is a good thing. But as we’ve discussed many time on this blog, food quantity doesn’t matter when food quality is on-point. And if you don’t believe me, try and eat too much chicken and broccoli tomorrow.

This many small-meals, constant-grazing behavior will actually fatten you more than 2-4 LARGE meals. Since you’re effectively closing the time between meals, where your body would break down fat, and increasing the time when there’s glucose in your blood.

Clearly, there’s different strokes for different folks, as a bodybuilder may still benefit from this 6-meal a day behavior (so he can get all his protein), but not for the apple-shaped, pre-diabetic, desk-jockey that could use a little more fat burning, and a lot less sugar.

woman-snacking-at-desk

In other words, start getting used to eating til your full. Which doesn’t mean eating fast and not digesting (see point 1), but it does mean pretending you’re not going to eat again for 4-6hrs. And making sure you’re not going to be hungry again in 60min; when Office Andy rolls up with a box of muffins and donuts.

5. Throw What You’re Lacking in a Blender With Berries

Sometimes life gets in the way, and even though we’re doing the best we can, we know we’re missing out some nutrition staples. Likewise, there’s some things we know we should be eating, but we just can’t wrap our heads around consuming. With organ meats being the most common challenge.

Enter the blender! It’s not ideal, but it’s better than not getting these foods. And as long as we’re not looking to it as a meal-replacement, with insulin-spiking protein powders and high-glycemic fruits, what’s the harm?

The key is blending up a small amount with a bunch of berries, water and ice, and consuming it alongside one of your meals.  And for most, this list of otherwise unobtainable dietary deficiencies looks something like this:

  • Greens – spinach, kale, swiss chard, sea vegetables, etc
  • Liverdessicated liver powder is the easiest
  • Coconut Oil – people tend to favor butter for cooking, so this is a good way to get Nature’s MCT Oil if you’re not
  • Collagen Hydrolysate – the non-muscle meat proteins
  • Fermented Foods – a few tablespoons of kefir would be great

On lifting days, this is even easier, as you can toss all this in a blender with your whey protein powder. Plus, you can include some tastier fruits, as this is when glucose is our friend.

Bonus #6 – Earn Your Caffeine With Water (The 2:1)

This one’s from the book, but frankly, it’s too damn good not to include in this post. Basically, you force yourself to consume 2 glasses of water before any caffeinated beverage (coffee or tea) during the day.

Live-it-not-diet-caffeine-water-2-1

As you’ll discover, it controls your caffeine intake as much as it keeps you hydrated; and it’s one of those rules that seems to stick with you for life.

Stay Lean (and goodluck)!
Coach Mike


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