I’m trying to simplify nutrition – that’s my message! I stick with it at the firehouse and in my virtual nutrition practice, and I’m letting you in on it here.
There’s no need for anything fancy in the kitchen, sometimes all we need to do is get back to basics with nutrition.
Nutrition has become so wildly complicated, for firefighters and the general public. (Agree?) It doesn’t have to be. But due in part to our society and exposure, we are conditioned to see it that way. I can’t help but cringe at all of the content on the Internet and can get confused myself – as my friend and SEO consultant, Glenneth, said recently, “You can find whatever answer you want to find on Google.” This means you can find whatever you want to fit your narrative; or you can search for a long time before getting the “right answer” for you. Let that sink in.
I’ll give you an example of something to Google – How much protein should I eat in a day? Good luck figuring out what’s best for you with that search. Every website, every organization, any blog, has an opinion on it, oftentimes not the same, never individualized. If you really want to know the answer to that question you have to do some experimentation with yourself and maybe an expert. But most people don’t do either – they just take a statement at face value.
WHAT DOES GETTING BACK TO BASICS WITH NUTRITION MEAN?
I truly believe in taking a step back and simplifying nutrition to find what works for you (and only you). When I talk about going back to basics with nutrition with fire departments it doesn’t include some fancy adaptogenic elixir or any wellness product that makes you cringe at the price tag. I’m talking about reading nutrition labels (See my blog post on How to Read a Nutrition Label.), knowing what’s in your food.
If you’d like to take it to the next level you can go to air, water, cosmetics, and more (all discussed in detail in each of my Wellness Foundations Workshops).
I believe in eating for health AND enjoyment. I also teach about the quality of food AND calories of food (because they are both important and denying this is a disservice to anyone); yet do so in a way where nutrients are taking the front seat.
How I take fire departments back to basics:
Consider the term healthified – (n): to adapt (a particular dish, a diet, etc.) so as to improve its health value; make healthy. When a fire department recently participated in a healthifying cooking workshop – they chose the dish, and I came up with a recipe. Some firefighters questioned what was healthy about a certain recipe.
Chicken parm is a classic in life and at the firehouse. But so often it is made with convenience options that add loads of artificial ingredients, fried in inflammatory oils, etc. We went from flavored bread crumbs (over 20 additives, preservatives, sugars, and artificial flavors) to flavoring our own bread crumbs (we just bought unflavored bread crumbs and got rid of the additives, rest assured we added our own flavors via dried spices); to antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken; to sauce/gravy that had olive oil in it; to real parmesan cheese; to real mozzarella cheese (not shredded, shredded cheese contains caking and preservative ingredients), to using avocado oil instead of peanut oil (anti-inflammatory oil vs. inflammatory oil).
The recipe was a hit, and those simple ingredient swaps (often cheaper than their alternatives) were key to healthifying the recipe. The meal was enjoyed without the added sugars, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, while also being a quality meal that allowed firefighters to eat for enjoyment, while still including their health in the equation.
Ingredients. It starts there. Then you can get a little more complicated and look at nutrients – micro and macro included. Promoting health, like gut or anti-inflammatory options fit in there too. And for most (without individualizing), you can stop there and avoid the timely searches on Google and loads of videos watched on Instagram or TikTok.
STARTING SMALL AND BEING CONSISTENT
Food for thought: Ultimately, approaching nutrition, health, and wellness changes are up to you, as a department or an individual. You can do all of the things or follow all of the advice in regard to one foundational pillar (let’s say food), but if one pillar like movement, stress management, sleep, etc., is off (or really off) it can only help so much. This is why it is important to tailor your own approach that is individualized to you and something that you’ll be consistent with. Tune into your body, listen to it, figure out what works and what doesn’t.
I AM HERE TO SUPPORT YOU ON YOUR HEALTH AND WELLNESS JOURNEY
Are you trying to get back to basics with nutrition and health? Kind reminder and said with gratitude and understanding, I have loads of free resources and content for you here, and on Instagram (check highlights and the thousands of posts). If you want more help than what is given for free, the next step is upgrading to a paid service, like buying a Wellness Foundation Workshop or working with me on Individualized Nutrition Coaching.