I recently had an eye opening conversation with a great friend. This friend is active with fitness and has been around wellness for most of his life. He discussed with me some recent medical concerns he had been working through. These medical concerns included high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The topic came up when he told me that he would miss our workout because he had a doctor’s appointment. Of course, out of general concern for a friend, I asked him if it was anything serious. He said, “Nothing too serious, but I am going to see my cardiologist for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” Since any appointment with a cardiologist is meaningful, I had some questions. One of the more important questions I asked was, “What course of action are you taking to bring these issues under control.” His answer was the same answer I hear from most of my new training clients who face similar concerns, “The doctor gave me some medication and I’m eating better.”
I was glad to hear the doctor had prescribed some medication to stabilize his condition. I did however have some questions about what he thought eating better entailed. When I asked him what he was eating for dinner that night, I was astounded. He was preparing to eat spaghetti and store bought meatballs. I hate to generalize, but it’s very hard to find meatballs that are low in saturated fat. Even homemade meatballs tend to be high in saturated fat. Upon further investigation, I discovered that he was eating fried eggs on muffins for breakfast, tuna salad or fried chicken sandwiches for lunch, and dinners similar to the one mentioned above.
It never ceases to amaze me how confused so many people are when it comes to making healthy meal choices, especially when they are on the go. When I expressed concern to my friend over his “better” meal choices, I was even more surprised at his reasons for why he thought they were “better.” It was apparent that the conflicting information in the media about what you should and should not eat had made it difficult for my friend to make proper meal choices. Unless someone is vigilant about reading between the lines or doing research, it can be an overwhelming task to make the correct choice for optimum health. I set out to make that choice easy for my friend and I am going to make it easy for you as well. When you are making your food selections, remember the following statement, “Think primitively.”
Primitive is often associated with the early history humankind, unaffected by civilizing influences. Animals eat primitively. They are not designed to eat the large amounts of the processed foods that our civilization offers. Since human beings are the most intelligent of animals, why are we the ones who are eating the worst form of food (the most processed form)? The leanest and most muscular animals eat completely unprocessed foods. They eat fresh lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains in their natural form. Their meats are never fried and their carbohydrates all come from living sources. Our primitive ancestors ate in a similar fashion. They too were lean and muscular. We need to make food choices similar to our primitive ancestors and their animal counterparts. It is not hard to make choices like these when you are armed with the proper information. The information you need is even simpler than you would think. Read below!
1) Eat lean proteins *, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains**
2) When cooking; bake, broil, steam, or grill
3) Flavor with low sodium seasonings and use olive oil sparingly for cooking
4) Eat a handful of nuts per day to supply needed unsaturated fats
5) Drink water
It is really that simple. You have the power to make your body healthy. The power is in your food choices. Proper nutrition has been provided for us in nature. We simply need to resist the urge to foul it up before we put it into our body.
I wish you good health as you PROGRESS to PRIMITIVE eating!
*Examples of lean proteins include fish, chicken, lean cuts of beef, egg whites, and beans.
**Whole grains are carbohydrates that are not refined. Typically they are much higher in fiber content than their refined counterparts. An example would be high fiber oatmeal.
Jim Bompensa has been a health club owner and manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition specialist for the nearly 15 years. He is currently the owner/operator of Body Physics Fitness Center in Haddonfield, NJ. Jim has appeared and contributed on ABC and NBC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Designing Spaces on TLC.