Re-Thinking How We Evaluate & Judge Foods

Re-Thinking How We Evaluate & Judge Foods

September 1, 2017 // Nutrition

  • In this series, I outline the flawed question associated with food-based decisions and outline strategies for evaluating and judging foods differently.

    Often I am asked: “Is XYZ food bad for me?”

    This is impossible to answer because there is no criteria for evaluating good and bad.

    What are you measuring?

    Are you comparing caloric profiles between two foods?
    Are you asking if one particular food will yield too high of a caloric intake?
    Are you determining if the food will fit into your macronutrient profile?
    Are you judging the health properties of the food (i.e. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Organic, Low Glycemic, etc.)?

    As you can see, there is a better question to ask.
    Instead of asking if a food is good or bad, ask if the decision fits in line with:

    • Your commitments (current habits, goals, pursuits)
    • Your nutritional sensitives (bodily reactions)
    • Your preferences (the life you want to live, foods you enjoy, current setting)

    Here’s a real life example of re-evaluating a food to gain better perspective:

    Improper Question: Are avocados bad for you?
    My response: I do not understand what you’re asking.

    Better Question #1: Do avocados have a lot of calories?
    Better Answer #1: Yes, avocados are energy-dense due to their fat composition.

    Better Question #2: Do avocados cause bloating or GI issues?
    Better Answer #2: No, avocados are rarely associated with bloat or GI issues.

    Better Question #3: Can avocados make you fat?
    Better Answer #3: If you consume avocados without much consideration for portion size (1/3rd of a whole one is considered a serving size), the high amount of calories could cause weight gain.

    See how the last three questions had a criteria, as compared to the first question?

    The Take-Away: Consider what it is you are evaluating when you inquire and/or judge foods. 

    Make Two (2) Back-Up Plans

    “If everything isn’t perfect, all will collapse”

    Life cannot be automated, and even the most structured workout and dietary routines are likely to collapse if there aren’t backup plans for when things get off-track.

    This is where a good “If-Then” pivot strategy is valuable.Pivoting is an important skillset for anyone building a personalized health and wellness routine.

    It’s as simple as “If no Plan A, then Plan B. If no Plan B, then Plan C.

    This is similar to the “Good, Better, Best” strategy.

    Having two back-up plans for any wellness routine satisfies two criteria:

    1. Ensures Progress
    Progress is the byproduct of consistency, and with two backup plans in place, consistency will be maintained. Moving forward in a direction, regardless of the speed, is forward progress.

    2. Prevents The Infamous “F*ck It” Sabotage 
    In July’s article series, I outlined the phrase that comes right before a self-sabatoge: “F*ck It”. This typically happens when a person feels overwhelmed with a temptation or a stress and is dealing with internal conflict. By having two backup plans, you can avoid the infamous self-sabotage and instead pivot to a middle ground.

    The Take-Away: Plan for issues. Plan for loss of control. Plan for the worst case scenario. Planning is the foundation of setting yourself up for success.

    Eat Fruit – Don’t Drink It

    Smoothies might be better for you than juice, but not by much, according to Professor at Pediatric Endocrinology, UC San Francisco and author of “The Hacking of the American Mind” and “Fat Chance”, Robert Lustig.

    “By pulverizing fruit into a thick paste, you’re losing out on the insoluble fiber and its benefits. Put simply, you’re better off eating fruit than drinking smoothies or juice.”

    In this 2-minute video, Professor Lustig explains the four benefits of digesting fiber from chewed fruit, which three of these are lost when you consume fruit in the form of a smoothie.

    The Take-Away: Don’t fall victim to the marketing tactics of the food industry. Eat fruit – don’t drink it. But, if you must, order the smallest size and add in protein to contain the insulin response.

    “The Best Fat Loss Article on the Motherf****n’ Internet”

    Yes, that is the real title of the following nutrition article.
    No, I did not name it.

    I was hesitant to promote this unique nutrition article, given it’s millennial-like writing style and constant vulgar inserts.

    Ultimately, the presentation is thorough, accurate, and easy to comprehend. For these reasons, I do suggest spending 5 minutes reading The Best Fat Loss Article on the Motherf****n’ Internet, which has circulated and been reviewed by nearly every respected nutrition expert.

    In the lengthy article, most common nutrition topics (calories, meal frequency, weight loss) are addressed in a way that may resonate well with those who feel lost and confused.

    The Take-Away: Yet again, the basics are the key to sustained health and wellness practices.

    My Hips Are Stronger At 31 Than Any Year Prior

    Using one particular mobility exercise, I have dramatically improved the strength, flexibility, and control of my hips.Enter The 90-90 mobility exercise.

    The hip joint is similar to the shoulder joint: they are both ball-and-socket joints. Hips can flex, extend, abduct (move away), and adduct (move towards). They can basically rotate in a half circle motion. Yet, with all of these capabilities, how often are we using our hips with these motions?

    Yeah… not much.

    After becoming certified in FRC, I started training my joints just as often as I train my muscles. Unlike muscular development, which is a slower process, joints respond immediately.

    I highly recommend incorporating this exercise movement sequence into your routine:

    The 90-90


    • Sit on the floor with your feet flat and your knees bent.
    • Turn your body 90 degrees to the right, dropping your knees so that the outside of your right knee and the inside of your left knee are touching the floor. (This is the 90–90 position: The thighs form a 90-degree angle, and each knee is bent 90 degrees.)
    • Rotate your torso to the right so that your right thigh is on the floor directly in front of you (position 1).
    • Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at your hip joints until you feel a deep stretch in the muscles surrounding your right hip (2). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
    • Come back to an upright position and rotate your shoulders to the left so you are facing your left leg. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds (3).
    • Keeping your right leg planted, extend the toes of your left foot and lift your left knee. Forcefully contract your left glute, lifting your leg and opening your left knee as far to the left as you can; this is a RAIL stretch (4). Hold for a five-count.
    • Lower the inside of your left knee back to the floor in front of you, then hinge the left knee back and forth three times, contracting your left glute for a five-count each time (5).
    • Open your left knee to the left once more. Hold the middle position — legs splayed wide, the outside edges of the feet on the floor — for 15 seconds, squeezing the glutes so that your knees press closer toward the floor (6). This is also a RAIL stretch.
    • Keeping your feet on the floor, rotate your body so you are sitting in the 90–90 position on the left side.
    • Repeat the entire sequence on this side

    Remember, cramping during movement is NOT a bad thing!
    Put in the effort and reap the immediate benefits.