The first stumbling block for people is their interpretation of the word “diet”. To some, it refers to a trademarked diet plan with strict yes / no rules. Let’s be honest. Don’t we all hate rules? I introduce to you today the SKIED Nutrition Manifesto.
How we label things is a direct determinant of our mindset going in. In any “diet,” it’s important to look beyond the perspective of a sacrificial lifestyle and instead, view it as an ever adapting approach to life.
If you’re treating paleo, Mediterranean, whole 30, or whatever else is out there with a set of strict yes / no rules, then you completely ignore your own needs.
The problem with “diets” is they’re generalized and applied as a one-size-fits-all solution. It is the best way to appeal to the masses and sometimes isn’t a direct way to help you succeed. Diets are good at making you rely on them by telling you what to do instead of showing you how to do it.
The wrong diet sells you what you need. The right diet empowers you to make your own decisions and learn through the process. Before you feel the need to pay for a plan or mindlessly follow something, think about your existing nutrition habits.
Wouldn’t you rather sacrifice the time now to build an achievable healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life?
The SKIED Nutrition Manifesto
I believe that living healthy can be easy if we choose to view it that way. It does not have to be an all or nothing game. You may not have to cut calories, you don’t have to eat only healthy foods, and you don’t have to sacrifice the joys of food.
But there are consequences to some of the things we eat. You do have to be consistent. You have to be disciplined. And most importantly, you have to be mindful of the signs your body gives you with everything you eat.
Being fit is not the primary purpose nor is it something you win. This is a common mistake many make upon starting. When you make a choice to better understand the meaning of wellness, you find that it’s a journey—never static and always changing—and a lifestyle to which everything in your life operates from.
In here, you will find no quick solutions. You will find no promises of what will work and what won’t. There will be no ridiculous time-based challenges that cause you to live like a lab rat. There will be exactly what you have been missing this entire time. The hard truth.
Who is this manifesto for?
There is so much noise out there and each day I hear some new ridiculous shit or challenge to do for the sake of health. All of which are time-based. What happens after? You think you will just magically fall in line?
Recognizing this is the first step to realizing that we all need strategies in our lives that simplify the process. Strategies that take the willpower out of the times we are not at our best. We must be able to adapt to the growing challenges in life while being mindful of health.
This manifesto is for you if:
- You’re sick of being force fed bullshit nutritional solutions
- You’re struggling with where to start
- You want a simple solution towards taking back your health
- You want to learn the how and not the what
Most of all, it is for those who are ready to commit themselves to building a long term nutrition solution into their lives. And those who accept that the best way to live a fulfilling life is to start with their health.
But if you made it this far, you already believe that.
First, change your perspective
I’m well aware that everyone is busy. I hear it from almost every person I ever ask the question, “how’re things?” In terms of health, I believe this excuse is a form of fear. Just another way to procrastinate what we know to be true.
People assume it’s time-consuming to cook their own meals or plan health into their days. The hard truth is that you are damn right it takes time. It takes time to shop for healthy food, it takes time to prepare meals ahead, and it takes time to cook multiple meals a day or for a family.
I get it. It definitely is overwhelming at first. Where do you even begin?! But, that’s it? Have you no faith in yourself? Think about anything in your life that has come easy. Was it worth it? Or were the best things in life the ones you poured your soul into and came out on top?
You must make time. Take a look around. There are busier people than you killing it with their health. What’s your excuse?
You’re not going to figure it out overnight and you certainly won’t always get it right. It took me nearly 5 years to realize this but it doesn’t have to take you that long. Perfection is not the goal.
Building in simple, consistent daily strategies is one of the best ways to approach nutrition. The sooner this happens, the sooner you experience how easy and efficient it will become.
It’s a lifestyle
Look at your nutrition as a flexible, enjoyable, trial and error experimentation. Build in flexibility while maintaining consistency. Instead of labeling foods as “cheat” meals implement mindfulness techniques when enjoying these indulgences.
The same mindfulness that tells you that you earned that shit but recognizes your commitment to staying on a healthy path.
A SKIED lifestyle diet focuses heavily on:
- Highly nutritious whole foods such as healthy fats, meats, fruits and vegetables
- Ancestral and Paleolithic principles
- Life-long learning
Having learned through so many inspirational stories of self-healing through proper nutrition, the great things they can unlock within us, and the scientific studies that prove what we eat matters, it’s hard for me not to use food as the foundation of everything I do.
It’s the most preventative measure you can take and the benefits far outweigh the costs. It is not normal to feel less than 50% all of the time.
The SKIED lifestyle does not view food as a reward. The moment I realized that we eat to live, not live to eat, everything changed. Food is a privilege that so many of us take for granted.We don’t have to eat, we get to eat. We must never forget our relationship with food. Click To Tweet
With nutritional choice, we should always try to avoid making decisions from a place of stress or desperation. We must clear our minds of the negativity and excuses and focus more on the major reason why we want to be healthy.
Asking yourself three simple questions can be an effective way to become more mindful of the present moments choice. These questions force us to remember why we are choosing health and are meant to simplify the decision.
To practice mindfulness, ask yourself three questions with every nutritional choice:
- Am I selecting highly nutrient-dense, whole foods the majority of the time?
- Am I choosing food that is minimally processed?
- Does this food make me feel good (or bad)?
You and I both know, it’s far better to go by the “rule of thumb.” No one likes to be told what to do. Subconsciously, I feel like we all want to break the rules a little bit. Am I right?
Simplify the approach by being more mindful every time you are faced with a tough nutrition decision. However, always remember that perfection is a fallacy. We are defined by the collection of our healthy choices and not by the fewer unhealthy ones.
Am I selecting highly nutrient-dense, whole foods the majority of the time?
It’s ALIVE! Think about this when you are in a grocery store. Was the food you chose alive at some point?
Sure, you could probably argue that something processed can be traced back to a living thing but you get the point.
In any note, it’s a roundabout way of saying vegetables, fruits, seafood and meats.
Nutrient-dense foods contain the vitamins and minerals we need in our diet serving as the foundation of proper health. They give us the biggest bang for our buck (in terms of health) because, without these vitamins, your body wouldn’t be able to function as well.
They are the natural occurring things in our environment. Not chemically altered or manipulated for consumer pleasure.
As part of the SKIED nutritional lifestyle, whole foods come before supplements because they are just that, supplemental to health (stop taking everything I say as all or nothing. I know there are exceptions. I’m on a roll.)
Nothing will ever trump high-quality nutritious food choices when it comes to fueling our bodies.
Am I choosing food that is minimally processed?
Another great question. But what is considered minimally processed?
It’s disgusting how many products in our grocery store have been chemically altered. In fact, a nation-wide analysis showed that 60% of foods purchased in the grocery store are highly processed. WHY?! I get why we choose the processed stuff. It’s cheaper and more abundant. But we must pay closer attention.
The answer lies within the label and your understanding of how to read one.
Take action by making a smarter choice and not trusting any “processed” product you buy. Read every food label to avoid the added ingredients you can’t pronounce. Look for added sugar. Look for fiber. If you see soybean oil, cottonseed oil, or any other hydrogenated oil, drop it and run like hell.
“Now [it] means – to some – how much marketers and manufacturers can get away with to stamp the word “paleo” on their product. The reality is that paleo is a buzz word worth a lot of money because it signifies something healthier which marketers can then persuade you is superior and you should buy.” – Steph Gaudreau, Stupid Easy Paleo
Unfortunately, you have to heavily scrutinize. Even if it’s “health food.”
Use your judgment and be weary of everything that is stamped with bullshit labels of paleo, low-fat, gluten-free, sugar-free and whatever ridiculous marketing ploy comes next. Be a skeptic when it comes to the foods you pick.
Luckily, you don’t have to go through the pain of making a lot of these decisions if you are picking from highly nutritious whole foods most of the time. Remember the question you just asked yourself?
Does this food make me feel good (or bad)?
Even if a food passes the first two tests, it may fail this question. Despite the many food options out there that are considered healthy, people may struggle with them. The most common might be gut problems. Otherwise known as the infamous bubble guts.
Remember that our stomach health can be a big determinant of overall wellness as it is connected to our brains and everything we do.
Some people have no problems with grains. Others do. I found that even though I didn’t have a problem with oats and brown rice, per say, I feel significantly better without them. I rarely eat grains now and when I do eat an abundance of them, I feel like shit.
Funny how your body adapts to things like that.
Michelle is a perfect example. She has terrible stomach issues. When she eliminated grains from her diet, she began to get control back of her life. No more stomach pains and far less bloating. To this day, we are finding which foods work best for her.
But I digress.
Even though what you eliminate may be “healthy”, if you want better long-term health, you’ve got to do some tinkering to find what makes you feel the best.
Watch out for what makes you feel bad emotionally as well. If you find eating some foods trigger a negative emotional response, it could be a good sign to explore your feelings further. It is easy to fall into a negative relationship with food and even harder to overcome after years of abuse.
Over time, as you discover which foods are optimal for you and your goals, your list of ideal foods are likely to change and loosen a bit.
Think about what you are already doing. Look to eliminate and replace things before you go nuts with advanced nutrition strategies like intermittent fasting, ketogenic, or some weird juicing cleanse.
The most helpful thing I have ever done was keep a food journal. While this wasn’t until later on, writing down everything I ate allowed me to reassess and evaluate how I was progressing. I would recommend to this to anyone looking to make a change.
Life isn’t that simple and neither should labeling or viewing any nutritional strategy with a simple yes or no. This will only lead to more stress and sadness.
Think less about whether or not or this or that, but instead ask the question, how can I get it all?
As you move throughout the process, remember that this is supposed to be fun. Challenge yourself to grow each day by asking:
- Can I add more nutritious food into my day?
- Can I add one more vegetable into my routine?
- What junk foods can I replace with good ones?
- What are my biggest challenges?
- Where do I see the most opportunity?
- How can I make this easier and as efficient as possible?
- What is one thing I can do each day that will compound to something great over time?
- How can I enjoy this?
Recognize first and accept that it isn’t your fault. How can we truly know what is at the root of the problem when there is so much variability in each of our lives? Whether genetics, shitty luck, or a series of unfortunate health events, focus on being part of the solution.Don’t measure the gap of where you are to where you want to be. Measure the gain of which you came from. Click To Tweet
Each day presents the opportunity to choose a fresh start. You may not have control of the many external factors in this world but you do have a choice. Every damn day.
That choice is your nutrition.
Are you ready to Simply Kill It Every Day?
If you are ready, the second part of the Simply Kill it Every Day nutrition guide outlines a list of healthy foods and strategies to take back your health. If you enjoyed this article and think it’s good advice be sure to share on Twitter or Facebook.