Food can be so many things for us.
It can be a source of pleasure, social bonding, painful bloating, energy or fatigue.
One of the questions I get most often from my new Online Coaching clients is, “Is it GOOD?”
As in, “Is quinoa good?”
“Are nuts good?”
“Is a glass of red wine good?”
My response generally begins with, “Good for what?”
In most cases, they want to know if the food is healthy or if it fits into their goals (weight loss, fat loss, or muscle building).
Many people expect me to give them a list of foods they can eat and foods they can’t, because that’s how a lot of trendy diets work.
But that’s not really how optimal nutrition works.
The ideal nutrition plan varies from person to person.
When I do Nutrition Coaching with clients, I help them figure out what and how they should be eating.
And the answer is different for everyone.
If You Want To Determine If A Certain Food Is Good For You, Here’s What You Should Look At:
1) Are You Allergic, Intolerant, Or Otherwise Sensitive To This Food?
Allergies are no joke and you know if you have one.
Your immune system reacts quickly with an Ig-E mediated immune response.
The symptoms can be life-threatening.
Intolerances can be a bit tricky, but you may already have a suspicion that certain foods don’t agree with you.
The reaction you have to food isn’t usually immediate with intolerances.
The symptoms are digestion-related and can include gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Other Food Sensitivities
Whether you suffer from a diagnosed medical condition or not, you may have noticed certain foods that don’t agree with you at some point.
Certain foods are notoriously difficult to digest, like beans, nuts, and legumes.
Smaller servings tend to be the remedy for that problem, as well as taking a digestive enzyme or a product with a specific enzyme like Beano.
I try to keep them to a minimum.
If you know that you get bloated every time you consume dairy or you have a medically-diagnosed dairy intolerance, dairy isn’t good for you.
But dairy may be a good source of protein for other people.
Quantity also matters.
A small serving can be ok, but large amounts on a regular basis can cause a problem.
2) What Impact Does This Food Have On Your Behaviour?
Will you feel forced to consume the entire bag of potato chips if you have a few?
Some people have trigger foods that cause them to overeat.
Those foods are best minimized or eaten only in a structured fashion.
Alcohol is another great example.
What happens to you when you have a couple of glasses of wine?
If the one glass you planned is likely to turn into three, wine might not be a good choice for you.
Many people feel that alcohol lowers their inhibitions and they end up eating more than they had planned.
Alcohol is also a mild depressant so it might reduce your motivation to eat well.
Some people can have a beer and it doesn’t affect their eating behaviour.
It’s all about knowing whether alcohol is a good choice for you.
Carbs can affect many people negatively as well.
The more carbs they eat, the more they tend to crave…more carbs.
It often takes a period of carb reduction to get your carb cravings under control.
Then you’ll find that you can naturally reduce your calorie intake.
3) How Does The Food Fit Into Your Overall Nutrition Plan?
If you have a “sweet tooth” and consume a lot of sugar, you want to be careful about adding other carbs.
Many people develop carb cravings when they consume starchy carbs, while others can consume carbs all day and never lose control around bread or sweets.
Some individuals are able to manage their insulin levels well, while others need to be more careful to keep their carbs under control.
As you get leaner, you’ll probably be able to manage your carbs better.
Remember that your weight loss is dependent primarily on how many calories you consume in a day (followed by the macro composition).
Whether a particular food fits depends on what you eat the rest of the day.
If you’re including starchy carbs and quite a lot of fat during the day, you probably don’t have enough space for a piece of chocolate cake after dinner.
Make your choices based on your preferences and what works for your body.
The Best Nutrition Plan Is Different For Everyone
Despite what proponents of particular diets would have you believe, nutrition is highly individualized.
What works for me may not work for you.
That’s why I’m critical of so-called experts who just promote the diet that works for them to everyone.
It doesn’t make any sense.
The ketogenic diet may work for a few people, but it’s not the ideal choice for most people.
Intermittent fasting fits nicely into some people’s lifestyles, but makes eating a challenge for many others.
The Bottom Line
There are many foods that people assume are “good” or “bad”.
And new Online Coaching clients, especially those that have worked with other nutritionists before, will often assume that there are certain foods I won’t “allow” them to eat.
First off, what you eat is ALWAYS your choice.
Whether you’re doing your journey on your own or with an experienced Coach, what you put in your mouth is entirely yours.
My nutrition system allows flexibility.
You CAN eat out.
No food is banned (unless you’re allergic or intolerant).
And I prefer not to make judgements about food and label them “good” or “bad”.
Any recommendations that I make apply to YOU, right now.
They may not apply to someone else.
They probably won’t apply to you three months from now.
I start many of my Online Coaching clients off by reducing their carbs and increasing their protein, but not always.
Some people are getting enough protein, but not eating enough fibre.
Figuring out which foods, and in what frequency and quantity, are good for you is an art and a science.
It’s not as simple as individual foods being good or bad.