In this article I am going to tell you how to customize your nutrition program for YOU. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know what “diet’ is right for you. If there was one diet that worked for everyone there would not be thousands of books and programs and “methods” out there. If have you have followed a specific nutrition program and gotten results, great, read on, because this could help you optimize even further. If you have struggled to get results then the tips below could finally give you what you needed.
One mans food is another mans poison. Some may find this shocking but if you consider the fact that we all look different, act different, have different personalities, have had different life experiences, have different likes and dislikes, it might start to make sense that we could each have different nutrition requirements. This might be also be the reason why some treatments – both traditional and alternative work for some and don’t work for others. While there are a variety of components to getting healthy and achieving optimal performance or longevity, I believe that customizing your nutrition program for YOU is crucial an often overlooked component.. Below I will tell you about 5 metrics you can and should use if you want to get it right.
BALANCE YOUR MACROS
The macronutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. In simple terms, they each feed the fire that is OUR metabolism. Many diets are customized based on the emphasis they place on each of these macronutrients (low carb, low fat, high protein, etc.) The fact of the matter is that restricting a macronutrient may help or hurt you depending on your unique need. I would suggest you experiment with 4 different combinations below. About 2 hours after your meal, think about how you feel – If you feel energized, have good mental clarity, no cravings you got it right. If you feel sluggish, bloated, can’t think clearly you got it wrong. If you would like to dig deeper into this concept check out this book.
- Eat a high carb breakfast – Oatmeal with fruit and honey.
- Eat a high protein/fat breakfast – 2 eggs, bacon, Berries
- Eat a balanced breakfast – 2 Eggs and an Orange (or oatmeal)
- Have just coffee (if you drink coffee)
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Further to the above, we have this amazing gift for figuring out what foods and food combinations are right for us. That is listening to our body. This is easy for some, to so easy for other. While most people only use body weight to measure progress, I believe this is the last place you should look. I often ask my clients how their program is working for them and they give a very generic answer. Then I dig deeper into the questions below and it reveals that there are all sorts of things happening that can help us customize the program. While question 1 was more about a short term response this question can help determine if there are any positive or negative patterns happening over the long term. Ask yourself these questions on a weekly basis.
- How is your digestion? Bloating, cramping, going to the bathroom less than 1x or more than 3x a day are not normal.
- How are your energy levels? There will be some lulls in your energy levels but extreme peaks and valleys are not normal.
- How is your skin quality? A pimple every now and then fine, but recurring blemishes are not normal. In addition,skin that has aged rapidly over a short period of time is generally a sign of a deficiency in some nutrient (usually protein).
- Do you have cravings? Cravings are a sign you body does not have what it needs and is undernourished. Whether it is protein, salt, fat and even sugar. All of these generally indicate something is missing from your diet.
- How is your sleep quality? Deep restorative sleep is not just for children, it should be for adults also. If you have a hard time falling asleep and/or wake repeatedly. Consider that something is misising from your diet (more carbohydrates before bed often solve this problem).
- How is your libido? A lack of sex drive is a major indicator of hormonal imbalances, generally from stress but not eating the right foods can be a major stressor. (Saturated fat and fruit can be extremely helpful here).
This is probably the most valuable and underused metric for figuring out what you should be putting or not putting in your body. The only relationship most people have with blood work is when they go in for their annual physical or a cold and their doctor runs a few basic tests to determine whether there are any apparent red flags. The fact of the matter is that there are many “custom” blood tests which you can run that tell you a great deal about your health. In addition, there are a variety of ways to analyze blood work. A “functional” blood chemistry analysis looks a bit deeper at how your body and metabolism are functioning. You can talk with health practitioner and/or In many states you can order your own blood panel online for a reasonable price.
I believe DNA testing to be the future of health. While this area is in its infancy, there are some publicly available DNA tests which can tell you a great deal about what you should be eating. For example, the section of the world that your ancestors are from plays a role in the type of foods your body was designed to eat. For instance, many people of european descent produce more of a salivary (in your saliva) enzyme called amylase. This enzyme can help us break down carbohydrates more efficiently. These people tend to do better on higher carbohydrate diets. On an even deeper level DNA testing has also shown that certain people might require very high doses of certain B Vitamins to function at a high level, particularly B12 and Folate. Supplementation can produce some dramatic changes in these people.
AT HOME TESTING
Lastly, there are some very simple at home tests which you can use to track whether the foods you are eating are nourishing your body appropriately. Body temperature and pulse are among the best indicators of the efficiency of your metabolism. Your body temperature should reach 98.6 by mid-day. Unless you are a well-trained athlete it is probably best to maintain a resting pose rate of 65bpm or higher. Contrary to popular believe a low pulse rate should not be your goal unless you are someone who performs a sport that can benefit from this adaptation. For those looking to dig even deeper, testing the pH of your urine can provide even more insight. Urinary pH should show a generally shift throughout the day from acidic to alkaline or alkaline to acidic. If you urine is always acidic or always alkaline there may be an imbalance. Please note urinary pH is not and indicator of whether your blood is alkaline or acidic.
So there you have it, playing around with even one of these recommendations should give you a major boost. If I overwhelmed you, just be sure to eat organic, real food and avoid anything processed. If you want some help fine tuning, be sure to find a health practitioner that uses some or all of these techniques in their practice.