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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Healthy Redhead NutritionPlan

A Long Post, Worth the Read! 

I had an AWESOME check in yesterday! Looks like my work out plan is doing it's job!  If you missed the results, you can still check it out HERE.

As I mentioned, I had put so much attention to working out, that I really put the nutrition plan on the back burner. So, NOW is the time! I have been pondering this topic for weeks! (Which is part of the reason that it was on the back burner.) I think that I finally came up with something....DRUM ROLL PLEASE....

The Healthy Redhead Nutrition Plan!!
Ready to start JUNE 1st!

Aaaaannnndddd, *Symbol crash!* Do me a favor.  Click HERE. Take a good look at all of the different types of food pyramids that there are.  Some put grains at the bottom. Others, meat. Others, vegetables.  My personal favorite included donuts and chips. With all of the many, many opinions out there, it is hard to see which is the RIGHT opinion.  This is where my journey began.

What Was I Looking For?

I knew from the many books I have read, websites I have studied, and programs that I have tried, that I wanted more of "plant based" plan with the option to still have a steak! Too much to ask?  I thought so.  I have searched the world wide web over to find such a plan and, well, nothing QUITE fit the bill. So, I was stuck to do my own research and pondering, and THIS is what I came up with.

My Food Pyramid


I don't think that the importance that water has on our health can be stressed enough.  It helps to cleanse our systems, reduce water retention, helps us think clearer, and helps to control our caloric intake. The consensus on how much water to drink in a days time seems to be "8 glasses of water." Note that it doesn't say "8 CUPS of water."  I think that is a common misconception.  Other sources say to drink HALF of your body weight in ounces per day.  That seems more realistic to me.  Remember: That which comes out should be the same color as that which went in.  Just sayin.

For the rest of the pyramid, I had to really delve into science, my own beliefs, and my own body.

I started out with scripture. I am lucky enough to belong to a religion that has a health code.  I figure that if anyone knows how to treat our bodies, it's the guy that created them! I read an article called "The Do's in the Word of Wisdom." Although slightly outdated, I think that the information is still fairly relevant.  I used this article to put my BASE pyramid together.  I needed an order.  The author, Lora Beth Larson, breaks it down very nicely.

Vegetables First

Through reading the Doctrine and Covenants 59:16-20, we find that Vegetables (things from the earth) are for our enjoyment to be used "both to please the eye and to gladden the heart."  I'm not sure that I am to the "gladden the heart" part yet when it comes to my veggies, but I will say that I would rather look at a picture of veggies than meat.

See what I mean?  So, I will say that Veggies are pleasing to the eye. In the same scripture, the Lord goes into a little more detail and  also states that  are to be used "for food and raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and enliven the soul."

We tend to focus on GREEN vegetables. Although the benefits of our "leafy green friends" are undeniable, it was intriguing to me to see what the COLOR of the vegetable tells us! That is why my direction is to EAT COLORFUL! Add this to what I have learned in Michael Pollen's Books, along with just our general knowledge of vegetables, and I had the perfect candidate for my bottom layer.


It's no secret that fruit doesn't contain the nutritional value that vegetables have.  They have natural sugars in them that if taken in excess can actually cause our insulin to go crazy.  HOWEVER, the natural disease fighting aspects of fruit won their spot in my pyramid as the second best layer.  With the anti-oxidant powers of berries, the amounts of fiber in core fruits, and Vitamin C in citrus, we can't go wrong enjoying the "fruits of the vine." 

Vegetables and fruit are about as REAL as food gets. You literally don't have to do anything to them to prepare them for eating.  If you have an apple tree, you can go out, pick the apple and just eat it! Well, if you don't use pesticides....but that topic has already been discussed in my post on organic food.  Obviously, given the choice, I would choose to grow my own organic produce to ensure the best quality, but that isn't quite possible since we are renting. So, for those of us that want a whole foods diet, this is as good as it gets. 

Plant Based Protein

I struggled a lot with this one. I wasn't sure if I should put Grains in this spot or stick with the plant based Protein.  After some research, I found that legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. have a higher nutritional value to them than wheat or other grains.  For now, I'm classifying plant based protein as the following (preferably RAW):

  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. 
  • Seeds: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, sunflower seeds, melon seeds etc. 
  • Legumes: lentil, dried beans, soy beans, chick/garbanzo beans, black-eyed beans, red beans, peas, green peas,or even quinoa etc.

Nuts and seeds contain B vitamins, which give you energy and promote your metabolism. HELLO FAT LOSS!!! They also contain selenium, chromium and vitamin E, which are all components of antioxidants. Nuts also contain phosphorous and magnesium, both of which are essential for the formation and health of your bones and teeth. Phosphorous supports energy production and the formation of nucleic acids, such as DNA. Magnesium helps activate your body's enzymes, and ensures that your muscles work properly.

You can see why these won their spot on the food pyramid!


"The Staff of Life!"  What the heck does THAT mean!?!?!  Is a staff something that sustains you, or is it something that you rely on when you need it?!?  Oh, this caused me heartache.  This topic is where religion and science tend to differ. It USED to be that grains were touted in the nutritional field.  So much so, that they used to be the bottom (most recommended) section of the food pyramid. The Word of Wisdom talks about ALL GRAIN being "ordained for the use of be the staff of life..."  Ultimately, I think that we sometimes focus a little too much on that saying.  There is nothing wrong with WHOLE or SPROUTED wheat, whole oats, corn (yes, corn is a grain,) brown rice, or any other grain.  In fact, I can't think of a faster way to give myself a burst of energy in the morning!

The nutritional value of grain is not as high as the nuts or seeds.  Grains are known as the best source of FIBER and also carry a good dose of Magnesium (perfect for those with high Cortisol levels.)

Other documented health benefits include:
  • stroke risk reduced 30-36%
  • type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
  • heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
  • better weight maintenance
Not to bad for a measly serving of whole grains per day!  Now, a serving size would be 1/4 C DRY, which equals anywhere from 100-160 calories per serving.  So, be careful!  But the health benefits for such a small amount are pretty awesome!

Animal Protein

I tried to find nice picture.... 
Once again, I relied on scripture to guide me on this one.  In the Word of Wisdom, we are cautioned to "eat meat sparingly." Today, we have learned that animal protein is related to multiple diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer's Disease.   However, with nutritional value of high protein, and iron, I don't think that we can just "take out" the animal protein. I mean, after all, we ARE Omnivores! ;) Even Michael Pollen talks about having a good steak or hamburger sometimes! It's just that with the low nutritional value from animal protein, I had a hard time giving it a different spot on the pyramid. 


This goes along with my Animal Protein ideas.  Although we can gain quite a bit of Calcium and Vitamin D from consuming WHOLE milk and cheeses, the fat content is not too pleasing, and the protein value is less than getting it from other animal sources (such as the meat or eggs.) I'm not so sure that milk really "does a body good." I, however, am a HUGE fan of cheese, so I couldn't leave dairy off of the pyramid. PLUS, getting the pro-biotic cultures from natural yogurt has been proven to aid in our health. Those that are "pro-dairy" boast that just a serving a day is enough Vitamin D and Calcium for our bodies! So, I'm giving it a shot!  One serving....1/2 C of yogurt or 1 oz of cheese will cost you appx. 5-10% of your calories for the day!  So sad....  Maybe I'll save it up and use it all at once at a Mexican restaurant! (Not sure that would work...)

Healthy Oils

Finally, we reach the top of the pyramid!  Just a TBSP of a good oil can have multiple benefits for your body! My favorite? Coconut Oil!  Claims abound that coconut oil is a health food that can cure everything from poor immune function,thyroid disease, and heart disease, to obesity, cancer, and HIV! No joke, folks! 

The Big Reveal!

Now, the moment that you all have been waiting for!  Here is my complete pyramid!  The percentages are based upon the amounts of each category that we should be consuming on a daily basis. The serving sizes are based upon a 1400-1500 Calorie diet.  Obviously if you need more calories during the day, you could eat more servings, or larger servings, of the food.  That is why I put the percentages there as well.
Click to PRINT

Where is the Sugar?

Ok, I am a huge fan of sweets!  And I do think that there is a place for them in our diet.  I just don't think that it should be a daily occurrence. This is why it's not on the pyramid.  Now, if you have a piece of dark chocolate every day, I think that is great!  That is less than 1% of your daily caloric intake and really is negligible. It's the second, third, fourth, the whole bar that I am worried about. I am also including other sweeteners in this category. Honey, agave, and Stevia are all natural and should still make up less than 1% of your daily caloric intake.  

Having said that, when I did Weight Watchers, we were allowed "extra points" in the week.  These points were there almost as a safety net in case you had a party or a break down or something. That is how I consider my sugar intake. I know that there will be times that I will have a piece of cake or a banana split.  Ok? Sure! When that happens though, I plan on being sure that I am having the correct portion sizes.  It's not a "hall pass" to go crazy! My mom always says:
 "I may have ONE brownie. But, I may NOT have a 9x13 Brownie!"  
One more thing: When I say "sugar" I'm talking about ACTUAL sugar, not High Fructose Corn Syrup, or anything like that. I'm talking ALL NATURAL! Remember though, ORGANIC SUGAR is STILL SUGAR!! This was my main motivation in doing the NO SODA challenge.  I think that is where MOST of my sugary (HFCS) intake was coming from.  It's not like most of us sit down every day and chomp on some cupcakes, ice cream, and candy.....or do you???  I really have felt a boost of energy since getting rid of the soda. I highly recommend giving the SODA CHALLENGE a shot. 

In a Nutshell- TLDR (For Paul)

The plan is to EAT CLEAN, using The Healthy Redhead Food Pyramid as a guide to portion control for each food group.  We're talking REAL food, not processed,VERY minimal Sugar. Oh! And to drink lots of water. Brilliant and mind blowing, I know. 

Piece of cake  watermelon, right??  

Well folks!  That's all she wrote! I will probably log my meals into for a bit just to make sure that I am getting in the right percentages.  I HATE, HATE, HATE logging my food.  I actually just do better planning out a full day in advance.  SO, when I plan my dinners for the week, I'll log them, then create my other meals based off of that.  It will be a HUGE pain at first, but I should get the hang of it and get to the point where I am just eating the right things!

Wish me luck!!  Don't forget to enter to win the Giveaway at the bottom of the page!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I will be referring back to it in the near future!



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