Dieting has always been an essential part of any fitness program. However, we need a paradigm shift away from “dieting” and to start considering “eating mindfully” as a conscious way of living. We have to make food choices that are strategic. To maintain an elevated state of fitness and well-being, we need to choose nutrient-rich foods that provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that build and heal the body.
As an orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert, I see many clients and patients struggle with the “diet of the day.” When asked, “Dr. Levi, should I eat this or that?” or “Dr. Levi, what do you think of this new supplement or energy bar?” My response is clear and precise: “Are you choosing a product for a one-hit-wonder treatment?” If so, make a different choice. I also ask them if they have read any studies about the products’ safety and sustain-ability. These are the two real issues here, because this is about fortifying your life via long-term nutritional lifestyle changes.
For over 20 years, I have chosen to practice a Paleo/gluten-free nutritional plan with respect to making healthier food choices. The Paleo program has worked well for the majority of my patients and clients as well as myself. This lifestyle has well-defined eating protocols, which you can appropriately modify according to any health or dietary restrictions that you may have. It is essential to speak with your doctor prior to beginning any dietary changes.
Here are the basics of the Paleo program. This lifestyle is based on the Paleolithic way of the hunters and gatherers and involves foods that are not refined and are free of dyes, trans fats, and sugars. Paleo foods include vegetables, fruits, seafood, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. The Paleo Diet removes dairy, starches, grains (wheat, corn, rice), legumes, alcohol, and any processed foods and added sugars.
This type of sustainable eating plan has a plethora of health benefits for all athletes and fitness enthusiasts including:
• Cardiovascular benefits
• Increased endurance
• Improved gastric function
• Decreased inflammation
Eating this way may potentially decrease your risks for diabetes, hypertension, cancer, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and the number-one killer of men and woman in America: cardiovascular disease. When incorporated with a dedicated exercise program, the Paleo lifestyle of “eating mindfully” can increase your strength and sports performance. For more info, check out DrLeviHarrison.com.
Dr. Levi Harrison is an orthopedic surgeon, fit-ness expert and author. He is also a Medical Directory of Healthy Athletes for the Special Olympics World Games LA 2015.