Most FAQ Regarding Nutrition
1. Nina where do you learn about nutrition?
Especially today where there are infinite sources of information and sea of information overload and confusion.
Nutritional science is hard, there are tons of studies done but it is a longer process that long of us think, it takes decades with controlled subjects and then you have to take in factors of genetics, activity level of the subject, stress levels, sleep…etc. And then they repeat these studies to see if the results are similar.
Try and find some sources you trust.
Now I dont know if I would trust this guy as he looks a bit creepy, but when I was at Barnes and Noble in the health and diet section, this guy had a ton of fitness and weight loss books for sale, so I thought, “He must know what he’s talking about” so the first book I read was Brad Schoenfeld called “Look Great Naked” in 2004…summer before college. I was a girl out of high school who wanted to stop focusing on sport and start focusing on my physique. Every girl wants to look good in college for all of the new boys and parties.
This is where I learned the basic principles I talk about today…
Carbs and Timing, Power of protein, good fats vs bad fats, importance of water, eating for exercise results instead of eating for pleasure, how to eat when going out, supplements…this was when fat burners were all the rage in the fitness industry.
Then he wrote 28 day body shape over which is the inspiration for the 30 day slim down for 30 bucks and Sculping Her Body Perfect.
So all throughout college I was into the basic gym routine of cardio in the morning and chest/tris, back and bis, leg day routine with Brad’s health and guidance for giving me the ideal body image I wanted.
Then from there around 2006, I wanted to be competitive again and started doing triathlons so I had to start training and eating like an endurance athlete so I read the Complete Triathlon Book by Matt Fitzgerald which was published by Triathlon Magazine so I figured it’d be a good place to start. Plus, Matt Fitzgerald is an award winning endurance sport journalist and bestselling author of more than 20 books on running, triathlon, overall health, fitness, nutrition and weightless so I thought he’d be a credible source as the time. And this was where I learned about the importance of carbohydrates in training for fuel and recovery, but it was the bad carbs like sugars and the gatorades that ruined my body over a period of time because I became overtrained and stressed out and I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue...The adrenal glands are hormone-producing glands that sit on top of each kidney, and while they may be small in size, they play a HUGE role in our overall health, energy, and survival. The adrenal glands release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol in response to anything our brain perceives as stressful. When we are constantly ‘stressed out’, our adrenal glands eventually ‘poop out’ (AKA adrenal fatigue).
When the adrenals can’t do their jobs, our bodies lose their ability to control inflammation. As I discussed last week: chronic inflammation –> chronic disease and indeed most “diseases of modern society” (i.e. autoimmunity, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, etc.) share inflammation at their root.
Long story short, stress in its many forms (especially ongoing stress) can slowly deplete the adrenal glands and lead to adrenal fatigue. If you’ve been tired (or downright exhausted) lately, you’re not alone – adrenal fatigue affects as much as 60% of the U.S. population! Other signs include weight gain (or loss), inability to lose weight, craving sweet or salty snacks, disliking exercise, or a general lack of motivation. Everything ive ready about adrenal fatigue was to eat a diet that reduced inflammation and all of my research pointed me to a paleo diet…and thought it was impossible so I just stopped working out so much, but I didn’t feel any better or lose weight.
Shortly after, In 2008 I moved to California and found CrossFit and again, this mention of the Paleo diet popped up and a book was released by Rob Wolff. You dont measure your food, you eat whole foods that come from the earth. So basically if a caveman didn’t have access to it, you dont eat it. No grains or dairy at all and it was really hard to follow so I looked up paleo recipes on the internet and started cooking paleo meals for myself. So with the combination of crossfit and paleo, I started losing weight and feeling better so I stuck with it for a long period of time…about 2-3 years.
But then I learned that my body responded better to carbs instead of fats. For example, I was soft, no muscle definition but when I was following the Brad Shoenfeld diet, I was leaner and more toned. So after a while, I started introducing carbs back into my life as my Crossfit started to become more competitive around 2011 and 2012.
Back in the day, every cross fitter was eating paleo and then made the transition into Zone diet where you balance proteins, fats and carbs based on your goals. Barry Sears wrote the Zone Diet that got this whole balancing act started. Basically, zone diet wants its followers to stick to eating a specific ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. You often see those splits in MyFitnessPal when you log into the app, it automatically defaults those percentages in there…thats where that came from. Just like paleo, zone carbs should have a low glycemic index, which means they provide a slow release of sugar into the blood to keep you fuller for longer. Protein should be lean and fat should be mostly monounsaturated. Another reason that attracted me to this, just like the paleo diet, the Zone Diet claims to reduce the inflammation in your body which would help with my adrenal fatigue. The idea behind the zone diet is that once you reduce inflammation, you will lose fat at the fastest rate possible, slow down aging, reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your performance. Coincidentally, this is where measuring your food into specific blocks for your needs came in to play. So I started measuring my food.
As I became a Regional athlete and having a Coach, I got into macros which was very similar but less confusing that zone and fueling myself properly for both performance and looking good naked. And honestly, this is the best ive ever felt and leanest ive ever been in my 32 years of life.
2. What supplement is underused?
One of the most researched supplements out there, there are no known side effects. Your body naturally produces it anyways as you get it through food. People may have an intolerance to it (excessive bloating), just like anything else. But it creates more powerful athletes in providing them a better ability to recover. If crossfit or cross training is your thing and you want to keep getting stronger, take creatine. If you are en endurance athlete and you need to stay skinny, lean and light, dont take it. Find a pure creatine monohydrate, no complexes, no mixes, no bullshit…UR sells one. We have a couple on the shelf, email me if you need one. firstname.lastname@example.org. All you need is 5g per day, no loading, no weening yourself off. Just add it in and see the benefits.
3. How much red meat is too much?
Individually based…high cholesterol runs in your family, if it bothers your gut…etc.
Red meat is one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth…mores than vegetables and chicken. It is one of the best things you could be eating, BUT where it comes from matters. Good grass-fed meat is hard to do too much of it, AS LONG AS portion sizes meat your macros.
4. How can I get more omega 3 fats…the good anti inflammatory fats without eating fish and grass-fed beef is too expensive?
If you dont want to supplement with a cod liver or fish oil to bring the omega 3s and omega 6s back into balance, stop eating so much processed shit and things that have or are being made with vegetable oils. Its pretty simple. You’ll bring that ratio back in line. The average american western diet gives us a 6:3 ratio is 15 to 1 or 20 to 1 so even if you do supplement and you still eat processed shit, you have no shot at balancing that ratio.
5. Intermittent Fasting, Yes or No
I did a podcast about it so if you go back in the archives, you’ll find it but yes, intermittent fasting is okay and I still do it. All it is is skipping a meal to a 14-16 hour fast. A lot of good things come from it and one of the biggest things is that it allows your body to get out of this bloated post meal, elevated blood sugar state and find homeostasis and let your body do its job and create insulin sensitivity. Shortens your eating window so you naturally consume less calories and lose body fat and weight.
6. Nina, I am hitting my macros each meal and im supposed to be done eating for the day, but im still hungry, what do I do?
You might not be hungry, it may be a craving. You might be thirsty. You have to figure out is it truly hunger because a lack of food or nutrients or is this something my brain is tricking me to wanting more food. This usually happens after we have sugar or processed foods where our bodies are craving those sugars. To answer your question, fight it. Sugar cravings and bad habits are going to last about 7-10 days and you could even get headaches from it. You can also “trick” your body into doing push ups, sit ups, going for a run, going to bed…change those cravings into something else thats going to positively benefit your overall health and fitness goals. Dont be like a smoker who gives up cigarettes for something else!