A huge issue for a lot of people today who aren’t able to gain weight or lose weight is that they don’t know how to eat. I’m not talking about how to chew. I’m talking about how to create meals that nourish your body and mind, and how to enjoy eating them.
Sure we’re busy, yes some foods are expensive but there is a big skills gap today between those who know how to eat and those who don’t. You could blame the parents of today for not teaching their kids, you could blame their parents for not teaching them or you could blame the modern world for teaching us all that we don’t need to cook. After all, we can buy a meal off of the shelf from just about any shop in the developed world.
It doesn’t matter why you don’t know how to eat. You still need to learn.
It all starts with the ingredients, the plants that grow in the earth and animals that run, swim or fly, across it. A good meal has character. It has a story. A bowl of packet noodles heated up in the microwave has no story, it has no character and it has barely any nutrition. Ready in three minutes served with extra weak sauce. Eat these instead.
Potatoes, carrots and onions are British staples found in just about every stew and shepherd’s pie across the nation. They’re not expensive, they’re not full of chemicals and they’re not hard to cook with. You can literally put them in a pan of boiling water and walk away. Mushrooms, tomatoes and beans are what turn bacon, hash browns and eggs from a breakfast bap into a Full English. All cheap, all dead easy to cook.
Grains are the product of a farmer’s labour, the process might have been streamlined a bit but you’re still looking at good quality food. Until it gets processed to death that is. When you look at white rice, white bread and those porridge oats with nothing to them, you’re looking at a food stripped of half of the value Mother Nature gave it. There’s less fibre, less minerals, less vitamins – You know, all the stuff that helps you not to die too soon. Some of it is treated to articificially replace the vitamins with vitamins made in the lab but the character isn’t there and neither is the fibre.
Wholegrain rice, brown rice, wholegrain oats and wholegrain wheat are all rich in a number of minerals that promote health. They are real food. See, carbohydrates get blamed a lot for making people fat but the people who eat proper carbohydrates are leaner and healthier than those who don’t. The science is clear on this.
It has been hypothesized that the discovery of fire is what allowed man to evolve past other species. Cooked food can be more easily digested and this is especially true of meat. It is thought that our consumption of cooked meat (and likely some of the root vegetables listed above) drove our evolution to the point we’re at now.
It’s harder to go wrong with meat. Despite the scares over saturated fat and cholesterol, meat has a fairly balanced fat profile with less than half of the fat of meat being saturated. It’s now being questioned if saturated fat actually has anything to do with heart disease anyway.
Get your meat fresh, frozen or still warm from the kill, it doesn’t matter. For UK meat, hormonal growth promoting agents are banned anyway so organic might not mean much either.
Eggs and Dairy
Dairy isn’t seen to be as healthy today as it was years ago. We’ve forgotten about the benefits of milk and now the younger generation drink significantly less than their parents do. Dairy products offer a lot of benefits, the obvious ones being calcium and protein but they also provide nutrients like iodine which supports the metabolism.
Eggs are full of protein, almost as versatile as chicken and cheap as chips. From microwave omelettes to pickled eggs, eggs are an easy way to get protein and other nutrients into your diet.
Fruits are nature’s sweets. If you don’t like fruit then you’re just eating fruit that you don’t like. One of the nice things about fruit is how many places it comes from. Walk into your local supermarket and you might have six of the seven continents’ produce available for purchase.
Don’t do the usual thing of buying lots of fruit that you don’t like that much and letting it go off in the fruit bowl. Buy fruit that you look forward to eating. You can get a lot of fruit chopped and frozen in bags now which makes it easy to get good fruit, regardless of season, and avoid the problem of it going off.
Just Cook It
Cooking basic meals is basic stuff. You just heat it up enough so that it won’t give you food poisoning. You can find cooking instructions and meal ideas on the packaging of lots of products.
If you have a decent protein, a decent carbohydrate and a handful of vegetables then you’ve got a decent meal. A good stew, stir fry or pasta dish all have the same elements.
Try these for some examples of dead easy meals to cook.
Get Better Each Time
There’s a lot to learn in cooking. I don’t claim to know the half of it but with a bit of practice you’ll cook meals that you’d be happy to pay for in a restaurant. This is a skill that needs to be developed for weight control. If you could easily cook great tasting, quick, healthy meals that provide you with the amount of energy you need, do you think you’d find it easier to achieve your goals?
Of course you would.
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P.S Check out the bonus I’ve added to the Ultimate Health Programme which is available from next week.