Photos provided by Grant Cochrane
Typically when we think weight loss or good health, we cut back on food, lower fat and calories. Seems like a logical approach, no? NO! Actually, this thinking is incorrect.
NO (nutrition optimization) means using foods that have more nourishment and limiting foods that have fewer nutrients. Feeding yourself foods that are rich in nutrients and optimizing any nutrition plan will satisfy hunger and keep your body running at peak performance. No matter what your goal is, weight loss, sports performance or health, the power of nutrition can work for you. Eating healthier by substituting nutrient dense real foods that are void of additives/dyes/preservatives/sweeteners etc…for the foods you think may be saving you calories or bettering your energy levels.
Many people eat pretzels because a serving is only about 100 calories and no fat. What nutritional value does it add to your food intake? Not much except 100 extra calories and likely the carbs will leave you hungry soon after. So you end up eating twice or three times as much food as you would have if you had eaten something a little more substantial like sliced mozzarella and tomato with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you chose to snack on tomato and mozzarella cheese instead of pretzels, not only do you optimize the nutritional value of a snack, you take a thoughtless moment of grabbing a handful of pretzels and create a more meaningful food experience: the aroma and taste of real food, greater visual palatability and a higher fullness factor!
Or, maybe you are hungry and you eat a small salad (with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, broccoli and carrots and you dress it with lite Italian) because you are trying to cut calories. Although healthy, this salad is not really enough calories to sustain your appetite. Instead, optimize the nutrition of this salad by adding turkey (protein, B6, niacin and selenium) and avocado (carotenoids, vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fiber, potassium; and switch the dressing from the ‘lite” version that contains a myriad of additives, i.e. corn syrup, sodium benzoate, disodium EDTA) to olive oil, lemon juice and natural herbs. By optimizing the nutrition, the snack becomes more satisfying.
The substitute salad with turkey and avocado has staying power. Yes you add calories and natural fat but your body is being nourished with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other health boosting nutrients as well. You are full. Cutting back on calories, only makes you hungry.
Sports players and athletes who are not concerned with weight may try to increase calories with milkshakes and high calorie junk food, that is not good either. Where is the nutrition, the vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats that will help improve performance??? Sugar will rev you up and slam you back down. Real food, nutrient dense meals and snacks will amp up fitness ability.
Optimizing nutrients to keep your body running at its best should be the focus no matter what the goal. The NO method is a compelling approach with many benefits. Try it and please share your experience with us.
NO is the only way to go!