Healthy Foods for Total Fitness
What is total fitness? It is not having those six-pack abs. It is not maintaining a specific percentage of body fat. No, total fitness is fitness that is from the “inside out”. It begins when you practice healthy eating throughout every day.
How Fitness is Created
Let’s just use a simple example: The famous model Claudia Schiffer admitted that for many years (at the height of her fame) she was a confirmed “junk food” eater. She smoked and rarely exercised, and yet if you saw a photograph of her during that time you would have difficulty finding any “flaws” in her appearance. Thus, it is not possible to say that total fitness is based on appearance alone.
Instead, it is having a body that is strong and energized, and this has to include healthy foods and smart daily choices. That means that for anyone to be as healthy and fit as possible, they have to learn the foundation of a healthy diet. This is one that provides enough energy throughout the day and yet does not encourage weight gain because of too many unused calories.
Energy and Food
If this is already confusing to you, just consider the word “energy”. You might hear the word “calories” all of the time, but you may not realize that calories are just a more complex way of talking about energy. You eat a certain number of calories every day and these are meant to supply you with the amount of energy your body needs to maintain its current weight, power you through your day, and yet not end up as stored energy (which we also call fat and muscle).
Some fitness experts speak of this as your BMR or basal metabolic rate. This is a number that indicates just how many calories you require every day to keep functioning, but without also doing any sort of exercise. This base measure of calories is what you should strive to eat every day. If you want to lose weight, you should eat this number of calories and try to do enough exercise to create a small deficit. Do this every day and your body starts to burn up fat for fuel and you have weight loss!
Of course, the energy you consume is important. Just as a car can use the least expensive fuel or it can burn the much higher quality fuel, so too does the body have a range of options. It is up to you to give the body the premium forms of energy needed in order to create complete fitness.
The Premium Fuel
So, what healthy foods are going to deliver the premium energy? We all know that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and protein is going to be the best choice. However, not many of us understand how to get the very most out of the healthy foods we eat.
Let’s consider this for a bit in order to uncover the truly healthy foods for fitness. To begin, we understand that eating three large meals each day is no longer the smartest model. Instead, we need to eat five smaller meals or three small meals and two to three small snacks.
The healthy foods we eat should be chosen to give us what we need for our lifestyle. If you are someone who is very active, you need to be sure your body has enough energy from good sources of protein and carbohydrate. If you are a sedentary person, you still need that protein, but you need to ensure it is lean and full of nutrients.
This is not as easy as it sounds. All of the animal sources have a lot of fat, even when we pick things like lean meats. To dodge the problems we might turn to things like eggs or cheese, but here too we have to worry about cholesterol. How do we get high quality protein that gives us energy and packs nutrients? We turn to nuts and seeds.
The Benefits of Organic Nuts in a Fitness Plan
When you look at the nutritional data on things like nuts, you might be astonished. (Flynn) These are super foods that have long been blamed for being unhealthy choices. This is due entirely to the ways that nuts are processed and packaged.
Just compare the cashews from us here at the Caju Company as opposed to the many grocery store brands. Our Caju cashews are not doused in oil and salt, roasted in a coal oven where their enzymes are destroyed, and then packaged as a healthy snack. No, they are produced in small batches, sourced from organic farms in Vietnam, and then hand graded to guarantee that they are an ideal source of nutrition, protein, and energy.
There is a good way to begin healthy eating, and one of the first steps is to understand which foods to use and which sources to choose.
Flynn, Sarah Wassner. Nuts: The perfect health and fitness food. SheKnows.com. 2008.