10 Tips to Optimize the Way You Eat for Performance Lifestyle Nutrition

Healthy athletes have developed a way of eating that optimizes performance and recovery. This is a method that applies to you, even if you’re not into sports or a fitness enthusiast. It’s built around 10 basic rules for optimizing the way you eat to achieve health and higher performance in your daily life.

To get started, don’t make it a goal to eat healthy by incorporating just one or two of these objectives into the way you eat. That will only delay the health you can begin experiencing today. Instead, recognize that the path and goal of healthy eating are the same.

Get Started on the Path to Healthy Eating

  1. Eat predominantly (up to 90% or more) plant-based, nutrient-rich, whole foods—vegetables, beans, fruits, raw seeds and nuts, and whole grains (optional).
  2. Eat high on the nutrient density chart, a useful chart that reveals clear information about the nutritional profile of foods you want to be eating, with examples of some of the best and healthiest foods—a value based on micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, as well as appropriate amounts of macronutrients like water, fiber, and health-promoting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
  3. Incorporate raw and cooked foods, with a smaller percentage of cooked foods. You can include a high proportion of raw foods (up to 50-75%) depending on your preferred ratio. Some foods increase in nutritional value when cooked conservatively, and in some foods—like soups—nutrients are neither lost nor destroyed through cooking.
  4. Eat small amounts of animal products. Ideally, choose wild, grass-fed, or farm-raised products, if you eat them at all. Many people feel better including small amounts of animal products in their diet for a variety of reasons, while many feel better not eating any. Eating animal food products is not essential for healthy eating and can have huge ethical and environmental implications (just to keep in mind).
  5. Reframe the idea of processed foods, as long as nutrient value and integrity are maintained. Smoothies, hummus, and chopped salads are all processed foods, but they can still be high in nutritional value. Instead focus on removing refined foods from your diet.
  6. Eliminate and/or limit refined foods, in which the nutrients are stripped out and pleasure-stimulating chemicals are either left in or added. These ingredients can cause addiction, over-consumption, and rapid increase of insulin levels, and they can lead to a host of health issues and diseases.
  7. Be creative in how you prepare whole foods, so you can experience similar pleasures to what you derive from traditional junk foods without the harmful result of overly refined products. You can actually have your cake and eat it too! (Cake and other enjoyable “extras,” while never an ideal dietary staple, can be made from whole, natural, nutrient-dense foods.)
  8. Customize the way you eat to your individual needs based on genetic predisposition, blood tests, and prior conditions (with the help of qualified nutrition experts and health care practitioners), as well as environment, present situation, preferences, and goals.
  9. Supplement essential nutrients in which you might be deficient. Whether it’s due to your previous diet or difficulties caused by age, gender, or life circumstances, supplementation may be essential. Vitamin D, B12, DHA, and EPA (Omega 3) are commonly recommended, but the necessary supplementation needed to bring your body to peak wellness should be determined by a qualified nutrition expert or health care practitioner.
  10. Include the use of natural products that are easy to consume on the go. Look for healthy, convenient products made from whole, natural, organic foods without refined or added salt, oil, or sugar in any significant quantities.

With these guidelines, you can develop an eating style that promotes health, fights disease, and works for you. One that enables you to eat to live and live to eat—healthfully, joyfully, and wisely—without sacrificing taste, health, or convenience.

Truly Optimize the Way You Eat

To further optimize the way you eat, incorporate these additional performance lifestyle nutrition guidelines into your daily habits. Note: There are nuances to every guideline. 

  • Eat when you are hungry. This could mean several small meals during the day. Or it could mean less than that depending on your activity levels and how you ate the day before. See the 5 golden rules of healthy eating.
  • Think of fueling your body first, not just eating. Most of us eat according to time of day, not based on hunger or for nutritional reasons. We just eat. If you filled your car on gas, would you fill it again just because it was mid-day? Or would you wait until you needed more gas? You get the idea. And, of course, you’d put in premium gasoline as often as possible.
  • Vegetables (in particular) and fruits should be the basis of your diet. Vegetables are the most nutrient rich food source. Plus, they are low in calories and you can eat them in large volume.
  • Time how you eat based on your needs. Also known as chrono-nutrition, this practice refers to the timing of your nutritional intake, especially as it relates to training activities, time of day, and fueling needs.
  • Eat a performance meal before bed (but not right before bed and not too much). Go to bed satisfied, but not on a full stomach, with the nutrients your body needs to heal and repair. Keep it light and nutrient-dense. This will enable you to wake up feeling powerful and rested, and it will increase the time between meals.
  • If you haven’t eaten enough the night before, you will be driven to eat more at breakfast is a common belief, but this seemingly time-tested rule is not actually true. Don’t break your fast until you are hungry. Also know that if you are exercising in the AM, you likely will eat breakfast sooner.
  • Drink water, but be careful about thinking you need to drink it constantly or with meals, which dilutes the digestive process. When you are eating a whole-foods, plant-based, nutrient-rich diet of your own making, you are “eating” water all day! These are foods with high water content. Most recommendations for drinking water are based on a high-sodium, refined, and animal-product-rich diet, which is why you need to drink a great deal of water to stay hydrated.

 

Stop Making a Goal Out of Healthy Eating. The Path and the Goal Are One.

When it comes to any or all aspects of lifestyle, the spiritual saying ‘the path and the goal are one’ applies. For example, if you want to be healthy, eat healthy or “nutrient rich” food, and when you do, health inevitably shows up. ~JAM

It’s the last month of the year, and we’re reviewing 2015 goals and beginning to contemplate the goals we want to achieve in life, business, and sports in the upcoming year.

In that spirit, let’s consider whether health should be a goal. Though we’ve all read about “the journey” to wellbeing or “the journey to health,” is health really a goal? Are we aiming to achieve a healthy state in life or do we want to maintain a balanced and healthy state so we can achieve our goals in life?

Here at Nutrient Rich Superfoods, a Performance Lifestyle company, we think the latter makes much more sense as a mindset. Having the right mindset has big implications for your lifestyle and the results you experience in this life. Not only does it determine how healthfully you eat each day; it also has big implications for how you live your life as a whole.

When you make goals (objectives that take time to achieve) out of certain aspects of your lifestyle—like eating healthy—the implication is that you’re not eating well right now. Thus, maybe, if you’re successful at achieving your “goal,” you’ll be eating healthy in the near future. Meanwhile, if you’re not eating healthy now, you can expect that food disorders, weight problems, and other kinds of health complications are, or will soon be, distracting and holding you back from you real life goals.

At the core, your lifestyle is “how” you achieve your goals.

What’s interesting about this inquiry is that it begins to illuminate the saying above about the path and the goal being the same thing.

The concept of “the path is the goal” originated in spiritual circles and is usually spoken of when referring to meditation. Spiritually speaking, what this means is that the experience of freedom (liberation from the mind or separate self sense) and the practice of freedom (meditation or awakening) are one and the same.

The enlightened perspective is that you don’t meditate to get free. When you meditate, you are already free. On that path, you have already reached the goal of being free.

Will your experience of your authentic self become clearer, more stable, and be perceived more pervasively over time? Yes. But even if your mind is attempting to drive you a little crazy while you’re meditating or living in a state of awakening, YOU are still already free. That’s the practice. It’s immediate and ongoing.

In many respects, this is analogous to another aspect of lifestyle: eating. Many people are sold the mindset—through the marketing of various health programs—that they are on a journey to health by eating healthier. The problem with this perspective is that while you’re body will continue to get healthier over time by practicing the art and science of healthy eating, you need to be eating healthy now or being healthy will never really show up.

While you won’t necessarily experience the pinnacle of wellbeing after your first meditation, you are free right now. The same is true for eating a healthy meal. While you won’t necessarily experience optimal health immediately, you are healthy right now. As long as you start with that mindset, the path and the goal are one and the same. The minute you are eating a predominantly whole foods, plant-based, nutrient-rich diet, you are achieving the “goal” of health. And you can be confident your health will continue to improve. This is true of anything you practice. You just get better and better.

The big mindset shift is to put the lifestyle practices that promote what you want to experience into play immediately, so you are on the path and achieving your goal right now. Not later. You want to stop making goals out of healthy eating. Healthy eating helps you achieve your goals. It is not the goal!

Which is why want to learn how to fuel your body right and eat healthy, quickly. It’s why you want to get it and get on with your life, rather than thinking of it as something you are aiming for somewhere down the road. ~ JAM

We eat healthy so we can do something far bigger in our lives, with a body that’s fueled right, functioning well, and free of “disease.” This mindset works—ask any athlete.

Being healthy isn’t a real goal, even if you’ve lost the practice and need to regain it. I know that can be hard to see when you are suffering from diabetes or some other consequence of unhealthy eating and living. The mindset applies because it will get you eating healthy as best you can, right now, so that healthy eating becomes a given in your life, not an abstract goalThat’s the power of a lifestyle mindset. You need it working for you right now, so you manifest the experience of life you want over time. 

Doing so will enable you to get free of the hidden challenges that distract or hold most people back. This allows you to remove interferences (nutritionally speaking) caused by eating nutrient-poor foods and in ways that don’t maintain health.

If you want to focus on your real goals in life, business, or sport without the distraction of low energy, health challenges, or weight issues—and with the confidence that comes from being able to engage in the world at your full capacity—stop making a goal out of healthy eating. Just stop. Establish a healthy eating style as part of your lifestyle today so you can create a new normal.

This is why we created the whole idea of Performance Lifestyle nutrition. It is a healthy, performance lifestyle philosophy. We all know that wellness, health, and higher performance are not limited to nutrition alone, but our fueling and eating practices must fall into alignment as a lifestyle practice, not a diet you try or a goal you set. Rather, it’s about living in a way that promotes and maintains health and enables your body to function and perform well so you can pursue your biggest dreams.

To learn more about performance lifestyle nutrition, click here.

To learn 10 Tips to Optimize the Way You Eat (the basis of Performance Lifestyle Nutrition), click here.

The 5 Functions of Performance Lifestyle Nutrition

Did you know that eating “nutrient rich” is also known as Performance Lifestyle Nutrition? It’s a term that emphasizes the five core ways nutrient-rich foods are working for you the minute these healthy foods cross your lips. It’s comprehensive, and that’s why it works!

Hyper-focus on single-issue dietary changes does not produce the results everyone wants (supreme health, fitness, energy, fat loss, and enjoyment of food). It is not sufficient to merely lower calories, reduce fat or carbohydrate intake, consume foods with a low glycemic index, lower the intake of animal products, increase your intake of plant protein, or eat a diet of mostly raw foods.

Some or all of these steps are beneficial. But you must also make food choices that maximize the micronutrients per calorie. When you do, you’ll see and feel the difference. Nutrient-rich foods contain a wide array of micronutrients that perform five key functions in your body from the moment you eat them. The effects are especially noticeable when you are consuming a diet that is 90% or more plant-based, nutrient-rich foods.

The Western diet has been devoid of these micronutrients for a long time, and American health and human performance suffers as a result. The good news is that Performance Lifestyle Nutrition—knowledgeably, conveniently, and deliciously loading your eating choices with whole, nutrient-rich superfoods—supplies and/or replenishes the wide array of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fibers that are missing from so many people’s diets.

 Get that one aspect of nutrition right, and you’ll get almost every other function of nutrition right!

When life is simply too busy and fast-paced to sit down for a whole-foods, nutrient-dense meal (as it is for all of us at times), Nutrient Rich Superfoods has your back with great-for-you Superfood products like Superfood Infusions™, the powerhouse, on-the-go nutritional snack with premium ingredients, sophisticated flavors, and innovative packaging. With Superfood Infusions™, you get the nutrient-rich superfoods that are the cornerstones of Performance Lifestyle® Nutrition in a great-tasting, convenient, organic, grab n’ go flexible pouch.

Learn more about each of the 5 core functions of Performance Lifestyle Nutrition – Nutrient Rich!
The 5 core functions of Performance Lifestyle Nutrition by John Allen Mollenhauer