It’s January, and we’re still nurturing our New Year’s resolutions, which, as is the case every year, include eating better and getting more exercise. To help with this journey, we turned to the experts at Equinox‘s Tier X coaching program to share the kind of wellness tips that will keep us fit and healthy throughout the year.
Tier X is the world’s most advanced health coaching that creates personalized programs that focus simultaneously on Movement, Nutrition and Regeneration. Here, Edward Gemdjian, Equinox’s Personal Trainer of the Year, and an elite Tier X coach, answers everything you ever wanted to know about how and what to eat in 2017.
What are the best foods to eat for optimal health?
Ah, the age old question! It’s funny how certain foods are “trending” even though their nutritional value hasn’t changed a bit. On the other hand, there have been some very interesting studies that have influenced the suggestions we make to our clients. Grass fed beef, salmon, spinach, cruciferous vegetables, quinoa, avocado, mixed berries and nuts are just a few staples for anyone without specific dietary restrictions.
Choosing “nutrient dense, lower calorie”(kale or brussels sprouts, foods over “calorie dense, low nutrient foods” (white bread or french fries) is the best thing for our overall health and well being. Deanna Minich, PhD, uses the colors of vegetables to make it easy to balance nutrients. Our favorite is Precision Nutrition’s 21 Superfoods list. What I love about this list is that it separates proteins, fats and carbs, so the client understands the need to balance all three. For example an avocado, spinach, tomato and walnut salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and vinegar dressing sounds fantastic, right? But if we look closer, there’s a very high amount of fat (although healthy fat) and an extremely low amount of protein (walnuts have a tiny amount, but have a lot more fat).
Are carbs really a no no?
Carbs are a very important part of a balanced diet, especially if your body is going to want energy for things like exercise! As the primary macronutrient we break down for energy, carbs are necessary in moderate amounts. Ketogenic diets (which exclude carbs), often warn of low energy and irritability as common side effects. Weight gain is caused by excess of any kind, not just carbs. At Tier X we perform a Resting Metabolic Rate Assessment on all of our clients, which tells us how many calories they burn at rest, as well as how much of carbs, fat and protein they need for energy. People vary in the amounts they need but everyone ends up needing some of each macronutrient.
Is it a good idea to try a cleanse in the new year?
My short answer is yes, as long as you understand what cleanses do and DON’T accomplish. If you’re looking to “reset” or “detoxify” your digestion, then there is definitely some evidence that cleanses help. Unfortunately, most people misguidedly believe cleanses help lose weight or body fat. Not only is this untrue, doing an extended detox can actually cause a slowdown in metabolism and possibly weight gain!
Everyone is talking about the Whole30…
The Whole30 diet is a mix of good and bad in my opinion. Let’s start with the good: Eating whole, unprocessed foods is an excellent idea! Additives and preservatives are foreign to our bodies and often can have adverse side effects. I really like the foods that Whole 30 suggests; as a matter of fact you’ll find them on the Superfoods list above!
There are two reasons most experts take issue with this diet: It eliminates grains, legumes and dairy, which are all important parts of a balanced, nutrient rich diet as long as they are consumed in moderation. The extremity of the Whole30 plan makes it nearly impossible to maintain long term, which can cause a bounce back of weight gain and bad eating habits. Also, there have been no peer reviewed studies done on the Whole30, so their diabetes-curing claims are unsubstantiated.
What kitchen essentials should we always have on hand?
NutriBullet is a great easy way to get your veggies and fruits in with little effort. Parsley Health and Precision Nutrition have some great variations on a Breakfast Shake.
Real food is my favorite supplement! Of course we understand that it is extremely difficult to get all of your nutrients from your diet, at the same time we don’t want anyone depending on supplements either. We usually recommend a daily multi-vitamin and some fish oil if it isn’t present in the client’s diet. Not all vitamins are created equal, look for high bioavailability!
What’s the best way to cure a hangover? And avoid one?
The obvious answer might be: don’t drink! But that actually doesn’t always work…let me explain. Sugar is the main reason for the headaches associated with hangovers. What makes it worse is that alcohol causes dehydration.
Two things to consider: If you’re going to drink, choose less sweet alcohol like vodka or light red wines (Pinot Noir) And, no matter what you drink, have a full glass of sparkling water between each alcoholic drink. This will help keep you hydrated, and the bubbles will slow your drinking down a bit!