I don’t typically offer nutrition advice on this blog. There are two reasons for this. First, I am not a nutritionist. Second, I am far from a role model when it comes to good nutritional choices. But I wanted to share some info with you regarding some choices I have been making recently.
Just before the holidays I was shopping at the Boulder Book Store and I happened upon a book by Jorge Cruise. I was intrigued by the title and picked it up, flipped through to look at the content, and decided to buy. And the book sat on my desk at home for a few weeks until I had a chance one night to sit down and read it. But by the time I was done I had already decided to start taking steps towards better nutrition.
Here is the part where I tell you to not blindly follow the advice that Mr. Cruise gives, nor my advice. You should talk with your doctor, or a licensed nutritionist, before you decide to make any changes to your diet. In my case I can talk with my sister, which I did. And I came to the following conclusions.
Reduce my sugar intake – No question this was a primary focus for me. I love my Snapple tea but it has 21g of sugar per serving. That is a lot of sugar for one day, especially if you were to see all 21 teaspoons that you would be consuming laid end-to-end. I was also eating a lot of fruit, like apples, which contain a good amount of sugar. Even my apple and cinnamon oatmeal was loaded with sugar! I was finding it everywhere I looked and doing my best to reduce my intake.
After about two weeks of focusing on reducing my sugar intake I found myself taking a business trip. Usually these trips result in my making bad choices, but this time I was determined to do better. I decided to try black coffee and was amazed that I could actually enjoy the taste of coffee without it being loaded with cream and sugar. So, give yourself two weeks of detox from sugar and see if your taste buds come back to you like they did for me.
Increase my fiber intake – This was a little harder for me to recognize as an issue at first, I simply did not realize that many of the foods I was eating were poor in fiber. But I knew that it was important for me to increase my intake with a goal of hitting a minimal amount of fiber daily. But how was I going to track my fiber and sugar?
Tracking my progress – I found an app for my Droid from MyFitnessPal.com as a result of seeing some tweets from a person I met at the NASA Tweetup last year. I loaded the app and used it for a few days. I found it useful enough and went to their website. Now I keep a tab open in my browser so that every day I can ensure it is right in front of me. This allows me to keep a diary of everything I eat (and even track my exercise if I ever do any). The idea is to make certain I do not overeat as frequently as I have in the past.
These three things have had a tremendous positive effect on me. I lost over 15 pounds in the month of January (based upon a weigh-in with my Doctor back in November). I still eat a lot of my favorite foods but I find myself making smarter choices. I choose snacks that are high in fiber and low in sugar, like roasted edamame beans, or even plain corn nuts bought in bulk from a local market. I make sure to drink eight cups of water a day as well. When I travel I do my best to keep making good choices. I am not always perfect, but I think that overall I am heading in the right direction.
I know that there are many people out there that have similar issues with nutrition. This post was meant to help give people a nudge in the right direction, it is not meant to give anyone a complete answer as to what is right for them. In the future I will try to add in some thoughts on various foods and keep everyone up to date on my progress (or lack thereof).
The thing I like most about this is that by simply increasing awareness of what I am putting into my body I can control my overall health without needing to exercise for hours a day. Sure, exercise is important. But I would rather feel good about taking a walk with my wife as opposed to thi8nking I need to go for an eight mile run in order to stay fit.