I’m going to be honest with y’all. When I get word of this or that new groundbreaking ‘super-food’ that promises to rocket my health into the fourth dimension of nutritional excellence, a series of events unfold that typically begin with me feverishly scouring the web to find even an inkling of truth in such claims and often end with me knocking over women and children in my neighborhood natural food store in an attempt to gain some sort of dietary advantage over my competitors. While this is neither the time nor place to address the fact that my perceived competition is most likely a manifestation of ego, I am not alone in my quest for dietary excellence as health enthusiasts and athletes the world over participate in similar acts of supplement lunacy. Although I also realize that this belief in a global obsession with nutritional supplements may be another subconscious attempt to validate my obscene behavior, there is at least a sliver of truth in this notion as the revenues for the nutritional supplement industry are approaching 30 billion annually.
Does this enthusiasm for nutritional supplementation and finding the path of least resistance to optimal health and fitness ultimately contribute to our wellbeing and our ability to excel in life? I’m in no position to say. However, years of personal experience and a cache of unfulfilled promises have taught me that it is often the simplest, sometimes ‘boring’ foods that provide the greatest physical and emotional benefit in my journey to total health and wellness.
Consistency is Key
I’m not saying that phytoplankton, chlorella and protein powders have absolutely no place in the healthy eaters pantry. Rather, I am suggesting that we should minimize our reliance upon such foods and instead focus on staple goods that reduce the amount of time and energy we spend shopping, planning and preparing our meals. Committing to the routine of eating one or two specific things for breakfast, lunch or dinner each day and getting in the habit of keeping these foods on hand will greatly reduce the amount of guesswork required when developing a functional diet. Further, choosing foods that are nutrient dense and easily assimilated can prevent inopportune digestive disturbances and the potential guilt that may result from overindulging in heavy or sugar-laden foods.
Personally, my breakfast of choice for the past several years has been a large bowl of oatmeal. Honestly, there have probably been a total of 11 days in the past 2 years that haven’t been started with some variation of warm, nutrient rich and extremely nourishing old-fashioned oats. More often than not, I mix this staple food with cinnamon, dried fruit and some ground flax to provide my body all the essential ingredients in the perfect recovery meal after my traditionally hard morning workouts. However, I do sometimes crave a little variety and have been known to round out my bowl-o-oats with granola, peanut butter or some other tasty topping that keeps the meal fresh and interesting. The beauty of it all is that this healthy meal has become so ingrained into my routine that its preparation has become almost second nature and I often find myself craving it when vacationing or away from home.
Think oat may be just the meal for you? Read more here about their tremendous health benefit!
An Added Bonus
The proverbial icing on the cake, old-fashioned oats and other minimally processed healthy foods that we integrate into our daily diet are typically absent the preservatives and artificial flavors that may be detrimental to our health. Also, adopting a staple meal routine can be of tremendous benefit to your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I can count on one finger the number of times I have subjected my body to the gluttony of an all-you-can-eat buffet and not paid dearly in guilt or remorse.
Here are a few simple meals and food comibinations that have worked their way into my regiment that may be of benefit to those wishing to simplify their meals:
- Fully Loaded Oatmeal
- Rice, Almond Milk and Berry Porridge
- Brown Rice and Black Beans
- Quinoa and Lentils
The possibilities are endless and experimenting with a variety of foods and then listening to the body’s signals is the best way to determine the foods that are optimal for each individual.
Don’t get me wrong, I do consume chia, maca, and hemp seeds and find that experimenting with new foods is an awesome way for me to experience life and stay active in my health and wellness goals. But these foods are supplements to the well planned, nutrient dense, plant based meals that are the foundation of my dietary philosophy. I have found that I physically, emotionally and spiritually thrive with a dietary philosophy founded on the boring, unglamorous, everyday foods that provide my body the energy and vitality needed to respond to the demands of everyday life and encourage everyone to do the same.