Well-being is a reflection of the harmony of Body and Mind. Food is essential for our mental and physical fitness. My approach to coaching and counselling aims to improve quality of life and therefore takes into account how and what we eat. Continuous lifestyle development is key to an open and sustainable experience.
“Dietary needs are similar to attachment needs – there are universal fundamentals, but each individual has unique characteristics and requirements. Just like we flourish with love and safety, we need the right energy for growth and to age well.”
Let me share with you my take aways from recent food science and how I adapt the finding in everyday life. Source of these guidelines is a German bestselling book about nutrition which is a conclusion of all scientific research studies about food since the 1950s* (Kast 2018).
Protein first, then carbs and fat
Harvard Health* says that we need 0.8grams of protein per kg of body weight. Protein saturates, we stop eating when we had enough. That’s why I chose protein as my starting point. I aim to reduce meat and fish to 3 meals per week (total of 450grams) and to cut out red meats as best I can for chicken and salmon instead. In addition I substantially ramped up plant-based protein: tofu, tempeh & edamame, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts (not good for kidney stones), almonds, spirulina, quinoa (as a “complete” protein contains all 9 essential amino acids), mycoprotein, chia seeds (2g per tbsp), hemp seeds (5g per tbsp or 14g), beans, broccoli stalk 4g / kale 200g = 2g, seitan (wheat gluten, 21g in 80g).
Coffee – filtered only
Can consume 4 cups daily, Contains several healthy substances. The few unhealthy oily substances need to be filtered out. Hence no french press 🙁 and no espresso machine 🙁
Dairy when it’s fermented. No Milk. No Butter
It’s a Yes from me for Yoghurt and Kefir: several health effects related to microbiom and digestion. And a Yes for Cheese: naturally high in calcium, good source for Vitamin K and Spermidine with various important metabolic functions.
Sugar and other Carbs
The common sugar consists of glucose and fructose. In particular fructose drives weight gain and increased intestinal fat. Attention: Fructose does not show in glycemic index tables, as the GI only measures glucose.
Avoid white rice, potatoes and white bread. Avoid french fries, chips and cookies and pastries that you have not made yourself (to avoid trans fats and sugar). Eat whole-grain bread and sometimes sourdough due to healthier digestion.
Fat – polyunsaturated good, trans fats never
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish (like salmon) and from plants (only ALA, not EPA nor DHA – taking fish oil supplements): Chia Seeds (10g cover RDA 1600mg), Brussel Sprouts, Algal Oil from algae, Hemp Seeds (even more than Chia), Walnuts (20g for RDA), flaxseeds (very high in ALA) and Perilla Oil (super-high in ALA).
Good olive oil scratches in the throat when swallowing a teaspoon of it – it has to taste bitter and peppery. Buy pure extra virgin native cold pressed. Can be used for frying – can help keep fried meat healthier. Associated with anti-aging and significant reduction of breast cancer risk.
Fasting – continuous lifestyle vs. intensive time-outs
Although I am a big fan of detox fasting following the Buchinger method (once or twice yearly), I do want to feel fit, healthy and comfortable all year round. That’s why I am gravitating in most weeks towards time-restricted fasting with 8hrs of food intake and 16hrs of fasting. I am not religiously adhering to these times on a daily basis, but find them easy to calculate and to live. A typical day then looks like breakfast around 10am and last meal before 6pm.
Conclusions for a healthy diet
1. Eat food with more whole carbs in the morning: whole-grain cereals with fruit and yoghurt
2. Eat some fatty food in the afternoon or evening: cheese, avocado, olive oil, nuts
3. Find a time-restricted cycle that suits your needs while helping your discipline and can be integrated into your work-week.
4. Enjoy your food! Familiarise with a few foundations and give yourself a chance to make it through a short phase of adjustment – you will gain back health and fitness over time.
Bas Kast (2018): The Nutrition Compass / Der Ernaehrungskompass, 28th, Munich: Random House.