Eating the Farmgirlfit Way is not a temporary diet, or “quick-fix.” It’s a new approach to the way you eat in your daily life. It’s made up of a few simple rules that begin to form lasting habits, helping you to be the best version of yourself. Not just living, but living well!
To help us establish these rules, we collaborated with Peter Clark, founder of Deliberate Nutrition and Fitness, and husband to one of our incredible coaches, Michelle. His approach to nutrition and fitness aligns to ours. He comes from an athletic background and maintains an active lifestyle. He has worked with female athletes, most notably as the Athletic Trainer for the Gonzaga University Women’s Basketball Team for 7 years. And he truly understands what it means to eat well for a lifetime of living well.
Peter believes, as do we, that there isn’t necessarily one “best” way of eating that is best for everybody. The specifics of good nutrition are very much individualized. But, regardless of those specifics (whether you eat grains or not, meat or not, whether you eat 3 big meals or 6 small ones), there ARE a few principles that define what constitutes good nutrition:
Food is energy or fuel for your body—Eat the right amount and types of food based on how active you are (how much energy you expend); not too much, not too little.
The foods you eat are nutrient dense—The majority of foods you eat are minimally processed whole foods, packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Good nutrition does all three of: 1) Promotes overall health, 2) Allows for high levels of performance, and 3) Positively affects body composition.
The results of good nutrition are measurable—Your nutrition plan should progress you towards your goals! If you aren’t making progress, are you following the plan? Do you need to adjust it?
Good nutrition is sustainable—It could be “the best diet ever,” but if you can’t follow it, it’s no good. You must be able to consistently follow your nutrition plan.
With these principles in mind, and staying true to the Farmgirlfit Way, we developed 10 rules for eating well. These rules will help you towards becoming your best self, regardless of individual goals. They are not complex or difficult to understand, but do require you to take responsibility for and play an active role in what you eat. At first, that might take a concerted effort, but eventually, as habits are formed, that effort becomes less and less.
1. Know exactly what you are eating. Read the ingredient labels of the foods you buy at the grocery store. If you don't recognize it or can't pronounce it, then you shouldn't eat it.
2. Make your own food, as often as possible. The best way to control what goes into your body is to prepare it yourself. If you’re making the effort, cook enough for a couple of meals.
3. EAT REAL FOOD. Eat real whole foods that require chewing. Avoid highly processed foods, and treat supplements as supplements.
TIP: At the grocery, shop the perimeter. Most of the foods that you should eat are found on the perimeter: the butcher, the eggs, and the produce.
4. Your hand is your guide, for portion size and meal planning. If you eat 3 meals/day, each meal should have at least a palm of protein, fist of vegetables, cupped hand of carbohydrates, and thumb of fat.
NOTE: If you are trying to lose weight, or for optimal recovery, carbs should come right after working out. On days when you don’t workout, skip the carbs and double up on veggies!
5. Create a colorful plate. The most vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables tend to have the most vitamins and minerals. Keep variety in your colors, and in the proteins, starches, and fats you choose, to help ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs. Plus, it will keep your taste buds happy – variety is the spice of life!
6. Drink water, a lot of water. You should have 80 to 100 ounces per day. Instead of soft drinks, fruit juice, sugary coffee, energy or sports drinks, choose water.
TRY THIS: Drink 16 to 20oz (a large glass or waterbottle) first thing in the morning, at each meal, and around your workout.
7. Eat slowly! Give your body time to let your brain know what’s going on. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal, relatively distraction free (i.e. No TV, computer, phone, etc).
8. Separation is in the preparation. Plan meals in advance. Arm yourself with snacks & on-the-go foods for when life deviates from the plan. Cook in bulk, so you have options later in the week.
9. Quality matters. As often as possible, for fruits, veggies, and starches choose organic, local, and fresh! For meat, eggs, and dairy, choose wild, grass-fed, pastured, organic.
10. Break the rules sometimes. Remember the goal is sustainability and a lifetime of eating well. If you feel deprived, you’re less likely to stick with it. Allow yourself to “cheat” occasionally.
Now that you know how to Eat the Farmgirlfit Way, we challenge you to follow these guidelines for the month of September. Begin to make the small changes that will lead to a lifetime of eating well. Adhere to this guidance as closely as possible, and notice the effects on your performance in the gym and your overall health! Find the details and rules of the challenge HERE.