Three Easy Tweaks to Fix Your Diet

Everyone's an expert when it comes to diet. Have you ever noticed this? Whether they follow a vegan, vegetarian, low-fat, low-carb, Paleo or Atkins program, everyone already knows everything there is to know about diet and nutrition.

So why do we have an obesity epidemic?

Despite having loads of information, most people are still making plenty of mistakes when it comes to eating well. Today I'm suggesting three easy steps to help get you on the road to better health. This might include some fat loss, if you are currently overweight.

Step 1) Drink more water.

Water is cheap. In many cases, free. You will save yourself a boatload of cash if you substitute plain tap water for your fancy coffee drinks, smoothies, juices, sodas, iced teas, and other beverages. Not to mention all the calories you will save. Plus the excess sugar which ends up around your waistline.

People tell me they don't LIKE water. But after only a few short hours of hiking across the desert, I believe these whiners would suddenly have a change of heart. Water is the stuff of life. It is what we are quite literally made of. Without it, you will perish. So quit your complaining and drink up!

Maybe you are one of the VERY few people who already drink plenty of water daily. Do you drink a minimum of three liters (quarts, okay?) each day? This is the basic amount most of us need without exercising, sweating, etc. If you exercise, you will need more.

When you are fully hydrated, you will feel better. No, you will feel AWESOME. Your joints will stop aching, your back will stop hurting, you will no longer get those pesky headaches. Give it a try and see if you agree.

Lastly, many people eat when they are actually thirsty. Before you pop some snack into your mouth, try drinking a large glass of water. Wait twenty minutes. If you still feel hungry, then go for it.

Step 2) Eat more veggies.

Even if you are vegan, my guess is that you don't eat vegetables for every meal. And when I say veggies, I don't mean fruit. Fruit is a delicious treat, but veggies are a STAPLE. Vegetables should comprise the bulk of one's diet. This is the way to excellent health because veggies contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants per ounce than any other food.

I can hear you already: What??? We need to eat veggies FOR BREAKFAST? The answer is YES. In many cultures around the world, breakfast includes meat, fish, seaweed, and vegetables. I know you have become accustomed to having sugary treats for breakfast, but this is a rotten way to start the day. A sugary breakfast (even if it is organic granola!) sets you up for a blood sugar crash mid-morning.

Americans typically eat one or two veggies at dinnertime and that's about it. We think corn and ketchup are vegetables. Let's turn this around and figure out how to get some veggies into three meals per day.

Step 3) Eat more protein.

This is the number one problem we see in most people's diets, especially those who think they are already eating healthy. People who read a lot of magazine articles about diet have added chia seeds, goji berries, acai juice, and hemp oil to their smoothies, but they often are not getting the very basic amount of protein needed to build and repair muscle.

If you are trying to get all your protein from vegetable sources (like soy) then you are missing many essential amino acids from your your diet. There is a reason there has never been a native people or tribe who consumed a purely vegan diet. Humans cannot survive on vegetables alone. This is a fact. Although Step 2 is essential for improving health, so is Step 3: protein.

The highest quality protein comes from animals: dairy, eggs, beef, fish, poultry, and other meats. Sure, you can find SMALL amounts of protein in stuff like quinoa, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. But this is not the kind of protein that will allow you to THRIVE. And I believe those reading this blog want to do more than just survive.

Add some form of protein to every meal of the day. Aim for a minimum of 20 grams per meal. (If you are a large man trying to build muscle, you will need 30 grams per meal.) This looks like 3 large eggs, 3 ounces of lean turkey or chicken, 4 ounces of tuna or salmon, one cup of Greek yogurt. (Be sure to read labels as brands differ in protein content.)

So there you have it: my recommendations for fixing the holes in your diet. Please notice that I haven't insisted that you drop anything. I want to start with the positive! In order to add both protein and veggies to every meal, it is possible you might need to remove some of the junk food. Choose the least nutritious element of your diet to eliminate, substitute the veggies and protein, and your body will thank you.