WHAT ARE YOU EATING?
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain mass or muscle, one of the key elements in any program you undertake is what you’re eating.
I’m not talking ‘diet,’ because wherever you look, there’s some sort of new philosophy: Zone, Paleo (probably the most widely-observed in CrossFit), and the “If It Fits Your Macros” plan are just a few – and the more popular ones – that come to mind. What I’m talking about is just a basic understanding of what and how you’re eating. And if you want to succeed in either end result, then it all comes down to one question: Are you eating clean?
What is eating clean? I think that the best assessment of that so far comes from Coach Greg Glassman himself:
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.
Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
Think on that for a second; it’s fairly simplistic, isn’t it? What to eat, and how to eat. But can we build on that, expand that statement even more?
Sure – how about “eat high-quality meats and vegetables”? Those two words make a huge difference right there: would you rather eat high-quality products or poor-quality products? Remember, garbage in, garbage out.
So what determines high quality? Is it something seasonal? Something natural? Organic? Certified organic?
Generally, regardless of which of those qualifiers you tend to lean towards, there are certain similarities which you should go by; everything should be as fresh as possible. There should be no discolorations, no off smells. Meats should be grass-fed, the chicken should be cage-free, fish should be wild caught and vegetables should be organic, slightly firm to the touch without being mushy.
Grass-fed, cage-free and wild-caught refers to the animal being allowed to roam free and eat a natural diet.
The best place to find these foods is, obviously, the supermarket; and the best advice you can follow when you’re there is to stick to the very outer aisles of the supermarket: produce, meats and seafood, and dairy. If you have to go down one of the regular aisles for something, then make sure to read the labels. If there are more ingredients on the label than you have fingers, if you can’t pronounce any of the ingredients you see, or if you find yourself asking if any one ingredient was made in a lab, then a) it’s not high-quality, b) it’s not clean, so ‘a’ plus ‘b’ equals ‘stay away.’
And for what it’s worth, if you don’t know what on the label indicates the quality of meat, poultry or seafood, then this is for you…
For meat include Prime, Choice and Select, with Prime being the highest-quality grade. Prime cuts are usually reserved for the high-end restaurants, steakhouses, and hotels, but if you can find some, then buy it. The Choice is the most common top-quality cut found in supermarkets and club stores, followed by Select. Anything else – Standard, Commercial, Choice/Select (or Select Choice, both of which are hardly seen these days), or ungraded – should be avoided.
For poultry, you want to look for a USDA Grade A on the label; Grade B, Grade C or no grade should be avoided, since those are usually used in processed chicken products (i.e., nuggets).
Finally, for seafood, you want to look for anything indicating an NMFS inspection, and only stick to seafood with an A Grade – avoid anything with a Grade B, Grade C, and (especially) Below Standard.
Clean eating is no-nonsense, simple eating, without any additives, preservatives or hidden sugars. It provides your body with the best fuel possible to help you reach your goals.
Side Note – The Woodbine is offering Ridgewood Farm Shares. This is fresh, organic, affordable vegetables from farms upstate to our family and friends in Ridgewood.
Article by: Kevin Byrne